Over the past year I composed a piece for string quartet and electronics titled Elements in preparation for a short residency of the JACK Quartet at University of Virginia that I helped organize. The program notes for this piece read:

Elements follows the birth and death of a world through the lens of combinations of the four alchemical base elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind.
The timid, then explosive formation of the Earth is followed by a presentation of the four base elements in their purest form. The base elements disappear, and as the activity subsides Water and Earth mix to form a slurry of rich, living activity. Wind returns, splitting the earth into ground and sky and catalyzing the activity of the Water into a chaotic force. The chaos builds to ignite Fire, which heats the Earth and scorches all life. A period of stasis follows, before a light haze rises, a memory of what used to be. The haze dries and falls to Earth, ending the piece.

This work consists of three layers: the material performed by the quartet, a fixed electronic composition, and a reactive, intermediary texture created through analysis of the performed material in real-time. An example of this last texture is a pizz. gesture triggering the playback of an audio file of a water droplet at a matching intensity level (dynamic, timbral valence).

This piece also makes some unique notational choices. All of the material of the piece is derived from a set of Gestures, Textures, and Transitions, the first page of which is below:

The first page of the score can be seen below, which has staves for the quartet, the Instrument Tone Extender (the interactive electronic component), and the fixed media part of the piece.

A recording of the piece performed by the quartet can be heard (and soon seen) below.

Trombone Quartet

Over this summer I composed a trombone quartet titled “Acceptance” for the 2015 Third Coast Trombone Retreat. Here’s a video including a computer-generated recording and the score for the piece:

Update: Here’s the performance at the Trombone Retreat, quite well-played:


This past year I was commissioned by Ben Roidl-Ward and Tim Daniels, fantastic bassoonist and oboist, respectively, to create a piece for oboe, bassoon, percussion and live electronics. After many rewrites I ended up with a short, five section piece that includes a variety of textures and instrumental roles.


The first movement begins with chaos: each of the performers quickly playing improvised notes covering their entire range while the electronics sample and randomly repeat segments of this texture. Over a minute, the range of the notes is collapsed to the middle and the notes get longer (with the percussion “lengthening” notes through trills).


The next movement begins in unison, with long tones in the middle range accented by the percussion. The notes speed up and the percussion starts filling in the space within and in between the notes, leading to the third section, a percussion solo that reiterates and develops some of the gestures heard previously in the piece.


The percussion solo loses steam and leads to a repeated ostinato pattern. The winds enter on improvised, soloistic material over the percussion ostinato, which is developed and ornamented. Finally, the winds reach the peak and trough of their ranges, respectively, and the percussion is cued to play a final, highly ornamented gesture.

The last section opens with a loop in the percussion, to which is added a loop in the oboe, and then one in bassoon. The loops are harmonically ambiguous and of different lengths. The loops circulate for around 20 seconds and are then abruptly cut off, ending the work.