ORCHESTRAL WORKS

Meditation for Strings

for string orchestra (2020)

Premiered by the University of Arkansas University Symphony Orchestra, 2021.

River of Solace

for orchestra (2016)

An oft-quoted Bible passage (from the Book of Amos) asks for justice to “roll on like a river.” But what is justice without solace? “River of Solace” is a single movement work for orchestra that explores the depths of solace needed to appease the injustice and the suffering that is so prevalent today. The harmonic language utilized is mostly somber and reverential, but occasionally turbulent. The work was commissioned by and composed for Dr. Selim Giray and the LOU Symphony Orchestra of Oxford, Mississippi in 2016.

Elegiac Verses

for string orchestra (2010)

Premiered in 2010, University of Arkansas University Symphony Orchestra

Monumentum

for large orchestra (2009)

Commissioned by, and composed for John Jeter and the Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra in 2009, “Monumentum” is a one-movement celebratory work with an energetic drive to its final climax. The title is a combination of the words ‘monument’ and ‘momentum,’ and indicates the composer’s appreciation for the monumental achievements accomplished by Maestro Jeter and the orchestra and the wonderful momentum those achievements have created.

Tragedia

for orchestra (2002)

An orchestral work composed as a response to the tragedies of 9/11, “Tragedia” explores the grieving, anxiety, and the need for healing after enduring such a tragedy. The emotions expressed are perhaps a bit dark, but not without a note of hope. It was premiered in the Autumn of 2002.

Kitchi-Minissing: The Legend of the Great Island

(2000) for orchestra

Just off the southernmost shore of Lake Superior, not far from the Pictured Rock Cliffs, stands a large and most unusual island. Known to the Chippewa as Kitchi-miniss (the great island), it is a place where soft Cambrian sandstone converges with Ordovician crystalline rock, producing parallel rows of multi-colored rock formations and twisted, swirling patterns that suggest demonic figures. On its northern edge, giant ice-choked waves driven by fierce winter winds gouge deep, cavernous holes into the sandstone cliffs; and in its center, there is an ancient beaver dam, some 1500 feet in length, that still holds back a mile-long lake of pure, cold water.

Home for centuries to a small and peace-loving tribe known as Kitchi-minissing-endanajig (the people of the great island), it has, for most of the last 200 years, remained without human habitation. Though dedicated to peaceful coexistence with all other people, the men of the tribe were forced in the late 18th century to join a confederation of Chippewa that tried to push a large contingent of Sioux warriors out of the Great Lakes region. A horrible battle between the two camps broke out near Leech Lake, Minnesota, and resulted in defeat for the Chippewa. The 20 or so Great Island warriors, though inexperienced in war, fought with a kind of supernatural bravery that the Sioux had never before seen; for hundreds of Sioux were held at bay near a cave by the handful of Kitchi-minissing warriors, allowing the other Chippewa to escape.

The only Great Island survivor was a small boy, the son of their chief, who walked hundreds of miles back to his homeland to give the devastating news to the wives, mothers, and grandfathers of the slain. Together with an old medicine man, the boy composed a lengthy song to forever commemorate the peaceful intentions and ultimate courage in the face of death of his beloved fallen comrades. Many years later, this boy, then a middle-aged man, performed this two-hour song for Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan Territory, and a young geologist named Henry Schoolcraft, along with a group of other explorers and trappers, at a bonfire meeting on the shores of Kitchi-goumi with a view of the great island in the distance. Though unable to understand the words, Cass, Schoolcraft, and the other whites were moved to tears by the sheer force of the man's emotional singing.

 

A Canadian trapper in the group who could understand Chippewa disappeared the next morning and carved an image of the heroic man's face in the side of a rock that just out into Lake Superior some five miles west of the island. That face in the rock exists to this day, but is covered with lichen and moss and worn down by wind and wave, and is barely recognizable. There is also no marker on the nearby highway to tell passing motorists of its existence, and it is likely to slowly fade away into the mists of time.

Emerald Passages

for orchestra (1995)

Premier performance: 10/95 by the University of Arkansas Chamber Orchestra, Rico McNeela, conducting. Additional performances: 5/96 by the Omaha Symphony, Victor Yampolsky, conducting; 10/97 by the CMU Orchestra, Carlton Woods, conducting; 11/97 by the South Dakota State University Symphony, Kregg Stovner, conducting; 4/15 with the Fort Smith Symphony, John Jeter, conducting. Awards: First Prize in the 1995 Omaha Symphony Guild Orchestral Composition Competition.

 

Sinfonia: Hegira

for large orchestra (1993)

The word "hegira" refers to a forced journey or exile and is often used in reference to the forced migrations of various Native American tribes in the middle east part of the previous century. For the Cherokee, who passed near or through Fayetteville on their way to Oklahoma, it was known as the "Trail of Tears."

The three movements of Sinfonia: Hegira are each based on a quote from a song or mythology of one of the tribes forced from their homeland. The first movement, an Adagio, is subtitled:

"remember the sacredness of flowing streams," which comes from a song of the Pawnee tribe. The music largely represents the peace and tranquility of a gently flowing stream. The second movement, marked Molto Allegro, is subtitled: "fly away rave, for today I die," an excerpt from a Mandan song, and is infused with the struggle for life. The final movement, Un Poco Adagio, begins with a canon for ( ?) strings which is gradually overtaken by the entire orchestra. The melodic of the canon continually interrupts the tutti orchestral statements and finally brings the movement to a close. The following excerpt from Sac mythology serves as the inspiration for the third movement: "the road to the city of death is paved with wide grasses."

Deep Earth Passing

for large orchestra (1988)

A one-movement work scored for large orchestra. The inspiration for the work comes from the Medieval tradition of linking music (and sound) with the natural order and harmony of the earth and universe; and from the effects, time and human interaction have had on that order and harmony. The form is outlined by a series of metric modulations which gradually change the pulse from slow to fast and back to slow again. The modulations help to signal changes in the ongoing melodic and harmonic material, much of which is derived from the opening alto flute melody. With the passing of time, the original idea is obscured and transformed, but never completely vanishes.

 

Finished in September of 1988, Deep Earth Passing was composed primarily in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Interlochen, Michigan. Final revisions were completed after the composer's move to Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Lament for Orchestra

for large orchestra (1985)

Three Essays for Orchestra

for large orchestra (1984)

Reading by Bowling Green Philharmonia, April 1984.

Symphony for Strings

for string orchestra (1977)

Performances: April 1977 in Negaunee, Michigan, by the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Robert Mueller conducting.

 

 

ORCHESTRA with SOLOIST

 

 

"...and no more shine the stars."

for oboe d'amore and orchestra (2019)

In memory of Bradley A. Bombardier

Premiered by Theresa Delaplain and the University of Arkansas, 2020

 

Breath of Angels

for flute and orchestra (2019)

Commissioned by Dr. Ronda Mains. Premiered by Ronda Mains and the University of Arkansas 2019

Satori (Awakening)

concerto for violin and orchestra (2016)

An oft-quoted Bible passage (from the Book of Amos) asks for justice to “roll on like a river.” But what is justice without solace? “River of Solace” is a single movement work for orchestra that explores the depths of solace needed to appease the injustice and the suffering that is so prevalent today. The harmonic language utilized is mostly somber and reverential, but occasionally turbulent. The work was commissioned by and composed for Dr. Selim Giray and the LOU Symphony Orchestra of Oxford, Mississippi in 2016.

Consolation: Concertino

for Oboe and Orchestra (2004)

Commissioned by the Fort Smith Symphony. Premiered April 2004 by Theresa Delaplain, oboe, with the Fort Smith Symphony, John Jeter, conducting.

Concerto 

for Oboe, Strings, and Percussion (1987)

Performances: 5/87 in Cincinnati, OH by a CCM student orchestra, Robert Mueller, conducting. Awards: Honorable Mention, 1988 ASCAP Young Composers Competition.