Eclipse for Chamber Orchestra

June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment


for Chamber Orchestra

Premiered by UCSB Chamber Orchestra, June 4, 2012
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UC Santa Barbara

Christopher Rountree, conductor

Eclipse is a single movement work based on a modified large-scale palindrome, inspired by the symmetrical shape of the shadow cast during a solar eclipse. After writing the first half, I reversed the pitches and rhythms for the second half. The middle point of these two sections is marked by a large staccato cluster in the whole orchestra, indicating the beginning of the retrograde section. Several modifications and expansions to the second section partly obscure the palindromic form.


Five Color Studies

May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Five Color Studies

for Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Percussion, Viola and Contrabass

Performed by Now Hear Ensemble April 14, 2012
Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UC Santa Barbara

I. Frantisek Kupka, “Vertical Planes Blue and Red” (1913)
II. Ellsworth Kelly, “Line, Form and Color: Purple and Orange” (1951)
III. Paul Klee, “Ancient Sound, Abstract on Black” (1925)
IV. Ad Reinhardt, “Abstract Painting, Blue” (1952)
V. Josef Albers, “Homage to the Square: Soft Spoken” (1969)

Five Color Studies derives its musical proportions from visual art. Each of the five movements corresponds to a different 20th century abstract painting. The movements contain separate sections, distinguished by contrasting pitch centers, tempos, rhythms and timbres. Each section is labeled according to the color, from which it derives its length. Specifically, the ratio of a color’s area to the total area determines the ratio between its corresponding section’s length to the total length of the movement. The structure of movements also reflects the arrangement of colors in the paintings. In Movements I, and III, since colors appear in fragments of different sizes, sections appear in smaller pieces of unpredictable order and length. In Movements II and V, since colors with larger areas contain colors with smaller areas, the sections appear in order of this visual hierarchy. The video accompaniment denotes each section by highlighting its color in to each corresponding painting.

Vortex for electronics and video

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Program Notes:

Vortex, for fixed media electronics and video

I. Wave Patterns
II. Crystals
III. Fugue
IV. Textured Fabric
V. Glacial Cave

Vortex is a study of patterns in water created by deconstructing and reconstructing multiple layers of videos. Using digital blending and filtering, large portions of the pixels were removed to isolate significant forms and textures. I layered these modified videos with each other and with altered versions where two of every three frames have been removed. The sound applies an analogous process to the video audio tracks. The audio was combined with altered versions of itself, including sonifications of every 500th frame. The title reflects this multistage process of deconstruction and reconstruction in both the audio and visuals.

New work premiered at Santa Barbara Museum of Art

December 9, 2011 § Leave a comment


This piece is based on the painting “Man with a Pipe” by Picasso.

Picasso, Man with a Pipe

Using computer generated random noise and synthesized tones as the basic sound materials, Refracted Light consists of several “sonifications” of the painting. First, I separated the three color channels, Red, Green and Blue using an image editor. Next, I used software to “play” the image with different timbres and at different speeds. The piece unfolds in four continuous sections following a shift along the color spectrum from red to blue, followed by the original version. In each section, the painting appears between 6-10 times as a “sound image.” The sound image also takes one of four different orientations, intersecting and overlapping with its neighbors to reflect the Cubist process.

Sketch of form

New chamber piece, Fragments of Time, premiered

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Fragments of Time

I. Midday, Cloud Forest

II. Almost Dusk

Flute, Sophie Tegart
Clarinet, Alexis Lanz
Violin, Joshua Addison
Cello, Jinsun Choi
Piano, Will Kelley
Percussion, Greg Jukes

Fragments of Time explores temporal fragmentation and dislocation through two contrasting movements. The first movement, “Midday at Cloud Forest, contains three sections inspired by animal and bird sounds in the forest. Each instrument plays a rhythmic and melodic cell repeating at a different length from the others. This device suggests a cacophony of birds or animals, each contributing its own unique call to the overall sound. The tam-tam hits separating each section from the next indicate a change of time and place in the same forest. In contrast, the second movement, “Almost Dusk…,” is slow, largely homophonic and timbral. It serves as a sort of coda or echo of the preceding movement. Fragments of Time was performed in August 2011 at the Atlantic Music Festival by members of the AMF Orchestra.

Generative Forms, for Fixed Media

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Listen to the piece:

Generative Forms


Winter Composers’ Concert, UC Santa Barbara, February 25, 2011.
California Electronic Music Exchange Concert, Mills College, April 24, 2011.

Generative Forms (2011) is an electronic composition for fixed media consisting of four short movements in graphic score, written and played using High C, a Macintosh implementation of Xenakis’ graphic notation console UPIC, which allows the composer to write music visually by mapping sound frequencies against time. The resulting graphic score is similar to a traditional score, however, instead of notes, individual line represent each individual sound. The title Generative Forms refers to the idea of building up a larger structure out of elementary shapes. Each movement’s overall form directly mirrors the smaller elements composing it. This self-similarity extends not only to the lines in the score, but to the physical shape of each waveform used to generate sound: the first movement, “Arcs,” is made up of sine waves, the second, “Triangles,” consists of triangle waves, etc.

Generative Forms Graphic Score:

1. “Arcs” (sine wave)

2. “Triangles” (triangle wave)

3. “Squares”  (square wave)

4. “Waves” (bell sound)

Tone Evolution

May 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tone Evolution (2011) is a work for fixed media electronics showing the progression in tuning and temperament in Western music from Ancient Greece to the modern day.




 The piece has five sections, each with music tuned according to a different system:


The sections feature characteristic motives, harmonies and stylistic elements of the periods in which they were used. As much as possible, within each section, I try to illustrate those musical tendencies, which pushed composers to develop the next tuning system. For example, the meantone section features a modulation to A-flat (G-sharp), emphasizing the wolf fifth between A-flat and E-flat, which prompted the development of well-temperament. Similarly, the equal temperament section hints at the “over”-saturation of chromaticism reached during the twelve tone period.