Vocal


Omega, for mezzo soprano and piano (2017)

     duration: 10 minutes
     text by Caroline Chen

Omega is a four-movement song cycle taken from a poem of the same name by writer Caroline Chen. It tells the story of a couple from when they first met, through their relationship, until the speaker of the poem finally realizes that they are meant to be together. The original poem is in four stanzas, each of which tells a part of the story, and each stanza forms the basis for one of the songs. As the feelings of the speaker warm toward their significant other, so too does the music warm through the song cycle, going from a more dissonant, serial configuration in the first song, to more open, consonant sonorities and soaring melodic lines in the fourth song.
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what is the grass?, for mezzo-soprano and piano (2015)

     duration: 4 minutes
     text by Walt Whitman 

Program note: The text for “what is the grass” was taken from lines 90-101 of Song of Myself, the first book of Leaves of Grass by the American poet Walt Whitman. The text is modified from its original version, cutting lines and reworking sentences, in order to get across the message clearly in the music – that all humans are created equal; we share the same world and are made of the same stuff, much like the grass of the earth.
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Grace, for mezzo-soprano and piano (2014)

     duration: 2 minutes
     text by Paul Zarzyski

Program note: Grace is about longing for open spaces, nature, and simple things, which have long been a source of mankind’s inspiration and spirituality. The music attempts to communicate this through the simplicity of triads, a yearning melodic line, and an expansive rolling accompaniment, reminiscent of perhaps a prairie wind or a traveling car.
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The Lost Generation: Songs of WWI, for soprano and piano/pierrot ensemble (2015)

     duration: 10 minutes
     text by Vera Brittain, Siegfried Sassoon, and Edward Thomas

Program note: The First World War is one of the most important events of history. It has been referred to as the end of the old world and beginning of the new. It was the first major world conflict in which new technological advances were utilized to their fullest, but with old world techniques, often to disastrous results. New developments in weapons technology resulted in hundreds of thousands of causalities, sometimes only in the span of three days. World War 1 shaped the world as we know it today, in philosophy, social structure, political structure, and conception of warfare. The term “the lost generation” was coined by the writer Gertrude Stein, later popularized by Ernest Hemingway, to describe the lost sense of spirituality and meaning of life that so many young people experienced as part of the war. This loss of direction is evident in all of the poems chosen for this song cycle, all by poets in some way associated with World War 1.

Remembrancesfor mezzo-soprano and piano (2014)

     duration: 5 minutes
     text by Alissa Agostini    

Program note: The song "Remembrances" first was born in January on the subway system of New York City (I believe we were on the E train headed for Queens). Lauren Anderson, the original singer who commissioned the work, and I were discussing our different career goals and she told me about her plans for her senior recital to sing pieces that she newly commissioned. I quickly accepted the opportunity, since collaborations like this are very rewarding. It is quite an amazing thing to work with another person and write something specifically for them, rather than just a general performer. The poetry comes from Lauren's friend, Alissa Agostini, who sent a few different poems for me to choose from. I chose this particular one because of the beautiful language, message, and musical imagery that runs throughout. Since it didn't have a title, I chose "Remembrances," as I feel it represents the basic premise of the poem. 

A Waist, for baritone and piano, (2013)

     duration: 4 minutes
     text by Gertrude Stein

Program note: 
"A Waist" was written specifically for Eau Claire based singer and voice instructor Luke Otto. The text is taken from Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons: A Translation of the Art of the Cubists into Words. I was attracted to the text because of its abstract construction - seemingly nonsense, but structural at its core. The piece is set in four short musical types for each line, which are provided here:

A star glide, a single frantic sullenness, a single financial grass greediness. 
Object that is in wood. Hold the pine, hold the dark, hold in the rush, make the bottom. 
A piece of crystal. A change, in a change that is remarkable there is no reason to say that there was a time. 
A woolen object gilded. A country climb is the best disgrace, a couple of practices any of them in order is so left.