Hear Us · 2014 · five minutes · for mixed choir and organ
Hear Us is an introspective piece that uses poem XXIII from John Donne's Litany. One of the most beloved English poets of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Donne's poem is both repentant and thought-provoking, and is particularly well-suited for a musical setting.
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners · 2012 · three minutes · for mixed a cappella choir
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners is a brisk, brief piece for a cappella choir that sets John Donne's Holy Sonnet Number Seven for unaccompanied choir.
A Hymn of St. Ephrem · 2010 · five minutes · for mixed choir and Organ
A Hymn of St. Ephrem is inspired by the poetry of St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373) and uses text from his Fifteen Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany. Ephrem's poetry contains both vivid imagery and visceral energy, making it ideal for a musical setting.
Possibly · 2005 · five minutes · for orchestra
Jointly commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Vermont Youth Orchestra.
Possibly is a straightforward, five-minute piece for full orchestra that draws from the excitement and exuberance of the many seeming life-possibilities presented to us in our youth. After a short introduction, the main three-note motive appears in the cellos and basses. The motive originates from a song that I wrote when I was nineteen and played in a rock band in Ventura, California. I have altered the motive to fit the idiom of an orchestra but it is essentially the same as it was in 1996, and it proves to be the backbone of the entire piece.
Three Love Songs · 2001 · ten minutes · for small orchestra and soprano
I stumbled upon the letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald as an undergraduate at California State University, Chico. They were so beautiful that I immediately began to set them, at first for soprano and piano, and later for soprano and orchestra. After graduating I continued writing the piece while working as the Recording Engineer Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida and was lucky enough to have the musicians of the New World Symphony perform the piece along with soprano Esther Jane Hardenbergh. The piece seeks to provide a musical atmosphere in which the listener can experience the ultimately heart-breaking letters and poems of the Fitzgeralds.
String Quartet · 2008 · four movements · twenty-four minutes
Commissioned by the City Church of San Francisco in honor of its tenth anniversary, String Quartet is a piece about darkness and hope. The piece uses long slow glissandos to evoke a sense of unease.
Violin Sonata · 2003 · three movements ·Sixteen minutes
Violin Sonata: Once upon a time ... is inspired by a short book (or a long essay) by J. R. R. Tolkein entitled On Faërie Stories in which he explains in detail what he believes constitutes a proper Faërie story. However, rather than musically narrating a specific story, Violin Sonata focuses on the characteristics of a typical Faërie story protagonist, and draws inspiration from a particular moment or feeling that the protagonist would have experienced or felt. In the first movement the music uses two moments: the peace before the journey imposes itself on the protagonist, and the fear that ensues after the journey begins. The second movement is a simple little piece inspired by the complex battle between despair and hope—not seeing the light, but hoping it will be there, even though only darkness is felt. The third goes on to evoke the pleasure of what Tolkein calls the Eucatastrophy, or inevitable happy ending in the midst of complete hopelessness.
Meditation on "Come thou fount" · 2008 · five minutes · for solo organ
Written for Linton Powell of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Arlington, Texas, this piece is a meditation on the underlying feelings and emotions in the hymn Come thou fount of every blessing, rather than an alternative setting for the hymn-melody itself (as is often done).
I'm not connected to anything · 2006 (rev. 2016) · five minutes · for solo flute
I’m Not Connected to Anything is a piece for solo flute that uses snaky chromatic melodies to evoke a sense of melancholy and loss. Changes in vibrato and tone color are used to create a haunting atmosphere. The music begins by invoking the feeling of disconnectedness that can accompany sadness and loss—in particular the robotic and mechanical nature that sorrow can produce. The piece is not without hope: in the middle of the song there is a section where the melody becomes more animated and lively, eventually changing to sound like a slowly accelerating music box. Finally, the piece then ends similarly to how it began.