Spun (2016) for cello

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About: Written for Mihai Marica (cello) and Lil Buck (dancer).
Duration: 5′

“Spun” is a virtuosic piece for cello solo. In it, I tried to capture the way our eyes are deceived by a rotating object like a spinning top or a spoked wheel. It can appear stationary, rotate more slowly than its actual speed, or backwards. The aural equivalent of this effect to me is fast-moving notes that merge into slower melodic lines. Sometimes, we are aware of the actual speed; at other times, we perceive a much slower tempo. The rotation gradually slows down over the course of the piece just as the perceived tempo appears faster than before; then, the object stops abruptly. What follows is a slow coda which conveys the vertigo we experience after spinning for a while.
I am very grateful to Mihai Marica and Lil’ Buck for allowing me to contribute to their program. I am in awe of their artistry!

Sonata (2008) for piano

Purchase CD here


About: Commissioned by Gilmore Keyboard Festival for Christopher Falzone. Performed throughout the US and Europe.

Duration: ca. 25′

My piano sonata owes its life to pianist Christopher Falzone and Gilmore Keyboard Festival which commissioned the work. They have generously allowed ample time for me to complete it without feeling rushed, which led, in my opinion, to a more stylistically uniform composition.

The sonata is tonal through and through. It is no more modally adventurous than [insert your favorite Romantic work in B minor here]. Thankfully, the tonal language, like a myth from antiquity, is a gift that keeps on giving. And speaking of myths, if the listener feels compelled to discern a general narrative in this abstract work, he/she could use any of the ancient “fallen heroes” (e.g. Phaëthon and Icarus) as metaphor for this piece. The most prominent gesture in the piece is that of descent, gradual or rapid. Given that the physical limitations of the keyboard make a perpetual fall impossible, most of the intervening passages strive to overcome gravity, thus creating the necessary tension that precedes the release of a freefall.

The sonata is cast in three movements – “Etude-tableau”, “Intermezzo”, and “Chaconne”, with the latter acting as a dramatic centerpiece that encapsulates the entire work (capable of standing alone). It is cyclic, i.e. the motivic connections run through all the parts. The stepwise nature of all melodic content made it easy to establish these connections. The two main harmonic units are a seventh and a ninth, both of which verticalize the melodic step.

The “chaconne” is by far the largest movement. Its pervading theme is a relationship of two voices falling at slightly different speeds. Two more voices, covered by the other hand, are added to form a four-part texture; the complementing pair serves to prevent the monotony of the downward theme by moving, like a queen in chess, in any direction. At times, the whole texture amounts to a considerable degree of rhythmic complexity. After the final variation reaches a denouement at the registral extremes of the keyboard, the two preceding movements are echoed in the emotional close of the piece.

Lulu-Rhapsody (2003) for piano

About: Premiered by YS at Sprague Hall (Yale School of Music) in 2003. It is an imaginary soundtrack to G.W. Pabst’s Expressionist silent film “Pandora’s Box”.

Duration: ca. 11′

Sonata for violin alone (2000)

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About: Commissioned and premiered by Pavel Ilyashov

Duration: ca. 9′

Prelude & Fugue in B minor (2000) for piano

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About: Written for and dedicated to Andrius Zlabys

Duration: ca. 7’30”

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