a little cuckoo,
through a vast bamboo forest,
the moonlight slanting
Basho's haiku are incredibly simple and concise, yet they still manage to convey content and imagery that are extremely thought-provoking. My composition is in three large sections, each concentrating on one line of the poem. The percussion scoring mimics the imagery of the poem, presenting the bamboo forest through the use of bamboo chimes and xylophone, and utilizing the crotales, pitched gongs, and suspended cymbals to create an ethereal setting for "moonlight slanting."
This piece was written for a project called Positive Space, created by percussionists Sam Livingston and Peter Dodds. It was premiered at the University of Michigan on March 21, 2010, and then performed three times at the University of Michigan Museum of Art on March 27, 2010, during the Positive Space concert. Pardon the ambient noise in the video below.
I collaborated with one of my friends that I met in my dorm freshman year and set one of her poems to music as a birthday present. In it, I explore the sonorities of diatonic clusters, a unique and extremely pleasing effect when produced by a chorus of voices. Listen to a reading by the USC Concert Choir:
This set of art songs was one of the first compositions I wrote after coming to USC, composed between the fall of 2003 and the spring of 2004. I collaborated with a singer who also happened to be a poet and supplied the poems for me to set. All the poems dealt with childhood experiences.
Listen to the third song, "The First Time I Did Fly":
Written in the fall of 2002, this was my first composition for mixed chorus, and my only composition to date for chorus and orchestra. At Pine View, the chorus and orchestra were to be collaborating and I was asked to write a song to be included in that performance. I chose this famous poem by William Wordsworth because of its beauty and lyrical nature.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” received its premiere by the Pine View Chamber Symphony and High School Chorus on December 12, 2002, and a subsequent performance for elementary and middle school children on the 20th. Pardon the extraneous noise they make in the recording:
Listen to the solo voice and piano arrangement, with Lydia Beasley singing:
I wrote this song on a Wordsworth poem as a vocal writing assignment in AP Music Theory during my senior year of high school. It was originally for four part choir, but you can listen to it in an arrangement for solo voice and piano, with Lydia Beasley singing: