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Adaptable Music for These Uncertain Times

July 2, 2020 MusicNews

UPDATE: 20 July, 2020: In This Broad Earth is now available in a FIVE-PART version (all strings, woodwinds, brass) with optional percussion.

As of today, July 2nd, 2020, no one in the US quite knows what the band and orchestra rehearsals will look like when the academic year begins this Fall. Some schools may have full ensembles (though that seems highly unlikely and truly unwise), but most, if they meet in person at all, will probably consist of small, rotating groups of students. Directors and music teachers may not have much control over the instrumentation that is present for a particular day. This obviously makes music written for bands and orchestras impossible to play.

As part of the Creative Repertoire Initiative, I and several composers who have written extensively for educational ensembles met to discuss 1) how to adapt existing repertoire to be malleable in the face of ever-changing instrumentation, 2) how to create original music for this scenario, and most importantly 3) develop resources to help as many other composers as possible to take on this challenge, as well. Join us over at the Facebook group to participate.

Here are the projects I’m working on:

Existing Works, adapted:

DUSK (two versions):

  1. FOUR-PART VERSION can be played by almost any combination of four instruments, regardless of register and timbre. Parts included: C, Bb, F, Eb, in treble, alto, and bass clefs for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
  2. FIVE-PART VERSION is a slightly stricter arrangement following the Japanese All-Band Association’s flexible band requirements. Also includes string parts.



  • FIVE-PART VERSION that follows the Japanese All-Band Association’s flexible band requirements. Also includes string parts and a full complement of optional percussion parts.

Follow the links for more details. I intend for these to be playgrounds for experimentation and learning.

Other arrangements of existing pieces that are in the works, or I’m contemplating:

New works:

TBA: grade 3, 3′, with electronics. Commissioned as part of the ASPIRE consortium, led by Glen Adsit (The Hartt School). Should be available sometime this Fall, but subject to change.

TBA: ANY skill level, ANY instrumentation, with electronics, duration entirely up to you. A slow, patient sonic landscape that could be used for anything from a warm up to an entire class period’s exercise in long tones. Available this Fall (I hope by the beginning of September).

TBA: grade 2, 3′, with electronics, based on samples of very loud frog choirs around my neighborhood in Durham, NC. This was actually Verena’s idea, and she essentially designed the whole piece. I just need to write it down.

Chamber works:

I have a recent Duet, easily playable by high school and above players, in multiple versions (everything from two Cellos, to Clarinet+Bass Clarinet, to Alto+Bari Sax, to any two low brass, etc.).