Piano Trio No. 1 to be premiered by fEARnoMUSIC on January 22nd

I am pleased to announce that my brand-new Piano Trio No. 1 has just been selected by fEARnoMUSIC as the winner of their recent call for scores, and will be added to the program for their upcoming Locally Sourced Sounds concert, which will be taking place on January 22nd, 2016 at 7:30pm at The Old Church. Tickets can be purchased via Brown Paper Tickets in advance, or at the door on the day of the show. My trio will share the program with works from four other Oregon composers, David Bernstein, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Ryan Francis, and Texu Kim.

To briefly describe the trio, it is a decidedly neoclassical work, though imbued with a strong but abstract visual sense, structured in four brief movements. Below is a sneak peek at the third movement:



Violin Sonata No. 1 and Oregon Multimedia Project in Eugene on 10/27 (with live-streaming)

After a successful premiere this Sunday in Corvallis at Oregon State University, violinist Wyatt True and pianist David Servias will be taking my Violin Sonata No. 1 and the Oregon Multimedia Project pieces of my fellow UO alums Ben Krause and J.M. Gerraughty to Beall Hall at the University of Oregon in less than 24 hours.

The performance will start at 7:30pm PDT (UTC-7:00) Tuesday, and for those of you who can’t make it to Eugene, the UO School of Music and Dance will be live-streaming the concert. The link to the live-stream can be found here on the official event page. (Direct link here.) The program, which includes some notes on the pieces from the violinist, can be found here–my sonata is first up.

Additionally, KLCC, the NPR affiliate in Eugene (89.7 FM) will be airing an interview with Wyatt True at 12:50pm PDT about the project. For those of you outside the KLCC listening area, there is also a streaming option for you there as well.

Also, a little preview of the score . . . this is out of the third movement.



June 25th, 2015 – Modal Utilities: The Road to Version 0.3.0 (Part 1)


Now that the academic year is over, I’ve had a chance to work a bit further with Modal Utilities, which is presently carrying the internal version number of 0.2.3. After an arduous battle with the UI, I believe I’ve gotten the main Mode Calculator module close to where I want it. That includes the implementation of the transformation buttons and a scrolling transformation history box, building in some of the theoretical apparatus I detailed in my conference paper from March (which I’ve also been working to turn into a publication). As you can see in the above image, the Transformation History details the currently shown mode of D Mixolydian (4D, to use my superscript notation) was reached by virtue of the ↑3 transform on D Dorian (1D).

I’ve moved the Series Info boxes off this module, as they didn’t fit very nicely with some of the new additions, so they will likely end up being spun off to a new module.

The second tab also happens to now show a functioning and interactive Heptatonic Manifold (shown below with Mixolydian mapped out on it). It’s still in a limited state right now–I’ve done a little work with allowing info from the Mode Calculator to transfer over to the Manifold module, but it’s not particularly reliable yet.


There’s also a third tab that now has a label on it–the “Chord SearcH’ module, which will eventually allow for examination of harmonic possibilities within the various modes, working with my Arabic numeral labeling system (which saw its debut in my MM thesis analytic paper in 2006). I’ve coded out a lot of the logic that will be necessary for it to work, and have had success testing it in the console, so it’s mostly going to be a matter of working up a good UI for handling that information. Likely, once the manifold/calculator module interactions are solid, I’ll roll the version number up to 0.3.0, and it’ll be close to the point at which beta testing may be viable.

As far as the compositional side of things, I have a few projects going, and some upcoming events. October 25th will bring the premiere of my Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 52 down at Oregon State University in Corvallis, with Dr. Wyatt True and Dr. David Servias. My friends and former UO colleagues Jason Gerraughty and Ben Krause will also have works on that program. I’m also working with another group of composers in Portland on a project that will result in a performance in the near future, and will have more to announce on that at a future date.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more details on Modal Utilities updates and upcoming performances. I’ve also started sneaking some score samples onto the Music page, if you’re curious to get a sneak peek at what some of these pieces look like on the page.


Presenting at the 2015 West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis

Heptatonic Manifold

I am pleased to announce that my latest theoretical paper, “Of Modes and Manifolds: The Landscape of Expanded Heptatonic Modal Pitch Space” has been accepted for the 2015 West Coast Conference of Music Theory and Analysis (WCCMTA). For those unfamiliar with the organization, the WCCMTA is a chapter of the larger Society of Music Theory (SMT). The paper, in short, encapsulates some recent research I have been doing in the area of modal theory, the centerpiece of which is my heptatonic manifold, seen above.

This year’s conference will be held at California State University-Fullerton this year, from February 27th to March 1st, in conjunction with the 14th Annual CSUF New Music Festival. If you’re interested in hearing about the manifold, and finding out more about this year’s conference, the site can be found here. More details on the schedule should be posted up there very soon. It should be a great event, covering the latest theoretical trends, and I’m quite excited to be a part of it.


Modal Utilities Update . . . Version 0.2.0

I’ve gotten back to working on Modal Utilities of late, and hit a milestone this evening. After cleaning up the GUI some from the previous cluttered mess, I started playing around with the JFugue library. Suffice to say, that “Play Mode” button actually works now, so it’s now possible to hear the modes in the program. Next step is getting some of the other modules in place (currently occupied by the generic placeholder “Tab 2” and friends). Here’s a look at Modal Utilities 0.2.0:



5/19/2014 – Modal Utilities Reaches Version 0.1.5


Over the past few months, I’ve had an ongoing side project. I have been developing a Java program called Modal Utilities, designed for the speedy identification of heptatonic modes. Upon entering the step formula or pitch class set of a mode, Modal Utilities will give you the catalog number and name for the mode out of my heptatonic modal catalog, the mode series to which it belongs, several other useful properties (sigma values and series eccentricity–more on those later), and the data for rotationally-related modes in the same series. If you also insert a pitch to act as the tonal center of the mode, the program will spell out that mode from that point, give you the relative key signature (“inflection sum”) and give you a staff representation, to boot.

As of tonight, Modal Utilities reached Version 0.1.5, with improvements to the GUI, and the addition of the “Rotation” button, which will rotate the mode up through its series. Still quite a way to go with this project–those other tabs you see at the top are non-functional at the moment–but it should give you some idea of where this project is headed. It’s designed to be a supplement to my long-running plans to codify my (rather heretical) brand of modality in book form, a project which has progressed quite a bit of late.

I’ll have more about Modal Utilities and the other theoretical developments in the near future. Stay tuned.


3/17/14 – String Quartet No. 12 recording, more site improvements

I’ve done a little further spring freshening on the site, including a rather thorough layout rework on the Music page. Far less cluttered-looking, and the recordings I have are more easily found. I’ll probably continue to tweak it in the next couple weeks, now that this quarter is coming to a close at the college.

Speaking of recordings, I’ve also just posted the recording of my String Quartet No. 12, which was commissioned and premiered by Third Angle New Music this past year, as part of their New Ideas in Music (NIIM) competition. They’re really a phenomenal group, and I especially enjoyed working with them. The impromptu “mini-symposium” that sort of came about with the other finalists during the few days before the concert made it all the more enjoyable. They’ve done another edition of the competition this year, and will be premiering six more new quartets this May.

I am drafting up a few things regarding my compositional approach–both in general, and with specific pieces–that I will be posting up here in the coming weeks, so I hope you’ll check by here again in the near future.


3/11/14 – New recordings and site updates

Things have been relatively quiet here with the site in recent months, in part because life’s been a bit hectic in other quarters.  The marathon Ph.D program is done, and since then, I’ve been keeping busy with my teaching duties, trying to find something full-time, and working on getting my modal theory (or at least part of it) into an initial publishable form.  With a few new recordings rolling in, including the reading session of my periodic table-inspired dissertation with the UO Symphony, I started tweaking some things on the site, and will continue tinkering with it in the coming weeks, all the while adding more content, and trying to make this a more interesting place to visit.

Speaking of ye olde dissertation, the readings of Lithium and Beryllium are now up here, and on my recently revived SoundCloud (which, until a few days ago, only had my recording experiments with a cello I tuned down a full fifth).  I got decent takes of Nitrogen and Neon as well, which I hope to have up in the coming days.  My thanks to Maestro David Jacobs at the University of Oregon, and all the UO Symphony musicians for spending quite a bit of time on the piece, and to my former teacher David Crumb for taking on the rather active celesta part.  The next step there will be finding an opportunity for an official “premiere” of all 10 elements pieces I’ve done thus far (Hydrogen through Neon).  I’ll be posting more about the process of writing that project in the near term.

Other projects I have going on right now include a violin sonata I’m very close to finishing for Wyatt True, and I’ve also been working sporadically on a thirteenth string quartet and a third volume of Modal Preludes.

I’ve also gotten an official “contact” page up here now, in case anyone might have interest in collaborating or acquiring my freelance services, which include composing for concert idioms and media, arranging, orchestration, engraving, and private composition study.



Third Angle Open Rehearsal – Friday 3/8/13

I now have more details about the open rehearsals for the Third Angle New Ideas In Music (NIIM) concert. The group will be rehearsing my String Quartet No. 12 as part of the open rehearsal scheduled for this Friday (March 8th), which will take place from 12:30pm to 2:30pm at the Ellyn Bye Studio, located in the basement of The Armory (128 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR). The rehearsal is free and open to the public.


At long last, I have established a digital presence–feels strange having my own “dot com” now.  I’m still sorting things out with the site–feel free to browse around in the meanwhile, and check back again, as I should have quite a bit more content up here.

The big event coming up for my music is on March 21st at 7:30pm in the Lincoln Recital Hall (good old Room 75–I have fond memories of rehearsing with the PSU Symphony there, as a 16-year-old junior in college).  Third Angle Ensemble will be premiering my brand new Twelfth String Quartet as part of their 2nd Annual New Ideas In Music concert, along with new works by Jay Derderian, Nicholas Omiccioli, Geoffrey Gordon, Brendan Faegre, and Julian Day.  There will be a couple of free open rehearsals for the concert as well.  I’ll share more details once I know.

‘Til then, keep it modal.