Fanfare in a Blue Pilu was inspired by my love of the music of Jimi Hendrix (specifically, the Hendrix Chord) and the postminimal fanfares of John Adams. The title refers to the scale used, the raga Pilu, although I derived the scale from the opening harmonic idea: the Fdim/F7 polychord which sounds quite bluesy.
The work was commissioned and performed by Brandon Dicks of the Rhode Island Recording Ensemble. Dicks, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, commissioned a series of trumpet ensemble fanfares to support composers through the pandemic; he performed and mixed all parts for the premiere recording.
Every once in awhile, I get the idea to write something a bit unusual. Given the season, I decided to write a piece reflecting my love of pumpkins, pumpkin pie, math, and dad jokes. Inspired by Rzewski’s composition Les Moutons de Panurge, I composed Shepherd’s π for any size ensemble and using a similar process. Incidentally, I once carved a “Pumpkin Pi.”
I recently had the honor of being commissioned to write an arrangement of “By the Sea of Crystal” for the Lee High School Senior Band in Wyoming, MI. This is the location where I completed my student teaching. This was commissioned to celebrate the graduation of the senior class of 2015, and in memory of David E. Gabrielse. David, the father of director Kevin Gabrielse, passed away in early February of 2015. He was called “Grandpa G” by Lee’s band students. “By the Sea of Crystal” was his favorite hymn.