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INTO LITE: Five Vignettes for Flute and Bass (2009), ca. 11’

Score available from Trigon Music Press

Recording of live performance available from Instant Encore

In 2008-2009, with support from the Fidelity Investment FutureStage Program and the Houston Symphony Education and Outreach Division, I was appointed composer-in-residence at an urban public school in Houston called Sharpstown High School.  For our weekly meetings, I designed a beginning level composition course that included ear training and transcription drills along with exercises in analysis and composition.  In 2009, we focused on simple diatonic pitch exercises using scales and intervals, and students wrote small pieces for solo instruments and duets which were read and recorded by members of the Houston Symphony (you can see a clip about this program here).


As we worked, I asked myself: what if I limited myself to the materials that I am presenting to these students?  I don’t usually limit myself in this way, yet I felt there is value in doing so, especially for composers who are just beginning to write their first pieces. I wanted to make a work that I could present to the students using the same language we used in our meetings.  INTO LITE was a response to this desire in that all of the materials are sequences and progressions of tones from a diatonic framework using simple folk-like melodies and forms.

 

A second source of inspiration for the work was the concert it was designed for. I was commissioned by the Art of Elan series in San Diego to write a piece of music that sounds as if it were improvised in the moment with traces from the jazz tradition.  In fact, I left a couple of options in the work ‘open’ for the performers to insert their own materials if they’d like to. This work was premiered by Demarre McGill, flute and Jeremy Kurtz, Bass.  Excerpts from their live performance are provided above.