Compositions and Recordings

"Wrath of Infinity" for String Quartet

This string quartet (comprising of 1 violin, 1 viola, 1 cello, and 1 double bass) is somewhat tonal but also very dissonant and written in an early twentieth century Modern style. The octatonic and pentatonic (even blues) scale plays a large role throughout the string quartet. The work is fast and aggressive. The rhythm is idiosyncratic and unintuitive because of constantly changing odd time signatures. To typical string players, this will cause a great challenge, especially because the music required on-the-dot precise rhythmic playing. The main influences for this work are Webern's early "free atonal" works and the progressive heavy metal genre (especially bands like Symphony X and some of Dream Theater's more dissonant works). In that regard, extended techniques were used to imitate typical sounds in a metal band - overdriven guitars and percussive playing. Section of this music are direct quotations and/or allusions to Dream Theater and Joe Satriani. However, it should be emphasized that this music is not an attempt to "do progressive metal on a string quartet". Rather, the progressive metal genre was one of the inspirations for some of the sounds in this work. (For the former, I recommend the String Quartet Tribute to Dream Theater).

I wrote this string quartet during my junior year in college in composition class while studying with Gerry Levinson. The title of the work is derived from the work by Dream Theater, "Dance of Eternity". There is one surprise in this work, which you will instantly recognize by listening to the recording or looking at the score.

performers on recording

Violin - Sophia Uddin

Viola - Dan Sito

Cello - Ben Dair

Double Bass - Regina Noto

"Goldberg Variations: Aria", an Orchestration.

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I arranged the Aria from J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations for my conducting and orchestration class during my senior year in college. The instrumentation is for a typical small chamber orchestra: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in A, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, and a 5-part string section. The orchestration of the A section is modeled after Webern's Klangfarbenmelodie philosophy, with the woodwinds dove-tailing the melody. Of course, Webern's orchestration of J.S. Bach's Musical Offering was the main inspiration for this arrangement. The B section is modeled after a typical romantic orchestra sound, with thick lush strings and triumphant horns and percussion. Overall, I believe that the orchestration has helped in heightening the drama of this aria.

I had the opportunity to conduct an orchestra for a read-through of this work, but unfortunately a recording was not made. Thus, the recording is a MIDI performance. The timpani part was not correctly transcribed, so please refer to the score for more precise information.

I am currently working on orchestrating all of the Goldberg Variations.

performers on recording

Orchestra - Midi



"Fugue in D Major" for Piano.

This three-voice fugue was written as an assignment for my 4th semester music theory course in college. The fugue subject itself is interesting, because it already implies two voices. In this sense, the fugue is more like an organ fugue then a harpsichord fugue. The subject is followed by a real answer (as opposed to a tonal answer) in the exposition because the ascending scalar fragment in the subject is too important to its identity as a subject. After several episodes and middle entries, the fugue enters a circle of fifth sequence which ends on a dramatic dominant pedal. Then, the final statement of the subject in the tonic key occurs in stretto.

performers on recording

Piano - Midi

Are you a piano player? Please perform this fugue and send me a recording.

"Partition of Unity" for Piano.

This solo piano work was composed during my junior year in college. It is written in late-romantic piano style with twenty-first century sensibilities. The main melody is influenced by Chopin mazurkas (as is the form), but musical development and style was modeled after Beethoven. True to the Beethovenian style, there are sections inspired by Baroque chorales. Perhaps the most interesting part to this work is the beginning, where the implied key is B-flat minor with the VI-cad64 progression that repeats itself. Then, the VI chord is reinterpreted as a root-position Neapolitan chord in f-minor, resolving to V (which is a tritone away). This creates for a very dramatic and surprising beginning.

The title is from the mathematical concept "partition of unity", which is a technical device used to piece together disparate mathematical objects (perhaps most often invoked to define the integral of differential forms). Its mathematical function reflects the philosophy of this music, in that the music pieces together different styles into a coherent whole. The title can also be interpreted literally, in that this style of music is most represented of the early twentieth century, when a unified musical norm was being disintegrated (hence "partition of unity").

performers on recording

Piano - Sophie Hagen

"Scherzo in A Minor" for string quartet

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This "neo-baroque" string quartet was written during my freshmen year in college. The main influences for this work are J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Karl Jenkins's "Palladio 1", better known as the "De Beer commercial song". I tried to incorporate Bach's sense of dramatic development and surprising uses of motives, Vivaldi's harmonic playfulness and rhythm, and Jenkins's "serious" and "dramatic" sound. The basic musical materials are incredibly simple (consisting of chord arpeggios and scale fragments), but rhythmic and harmonic interest create an incredibly dynamic sound.

performers on recording

Violin 1 - Stephanie Whang

Violin 2 - Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten

Viola - Gerritt Straughter

Cello - Alyssa Van Thoen



"Protein Synthesis" for string quartet

This string quartet was written during my senior year in high school, when I very interested in molecular biology. This work was created by creating a one-to-one correspondence between pitch classes and nucleiobases that form DNA molecules. Then, a certain DNA sequence is "spelled-out" using those pitch classes. Then, the DNA sequence is transcribed into polypeptide sequences by overlaying the true "melody" on top of the nucleobase pitch sequence. This work is a study in pseudo-algorithmic composition. The rules were strictly laid out before hand, and the rules were strictly followed in generating the music. In this sense, the music is "generated" more than it is "composed".

This work is best enjoyed by following along the score. The score contains annotations on when certain biological events begin in the music.

performers on recording

String Quartet - MIDI

"The Crucible Overture" for orchestra.

This overture is part of an entire soundtrack composed for the 2005 production of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" at the Bergen County Academies. The musical material found in this overture formed the basis for rest of the soundtrack of this play. Composing was done jointly by me, Chris Hanson, and Brian Barone. This overture begins with a sampled passage by the Armenian Duduk, an incredibly expressive ethnic instrument. This is followed by the peaceful guitar section, which represents the apparently-calm and sleepy Salem, MA. This is followed by what the director of the play referred to as the "lawyer walk music", which represents the ensuing persecution of the witch trials.

This work was composed and recorded simultaneously. Sections and parts were added, changed, or removed as we recorded the music.

No score is available for this work.

performers on recording

Guitar - Chris Hanson

Orchestra - Kurzweil K2500X

"Dashing Towards the Horizon" for solo keyboard

This was written (and performed live) during my senior year in high school. It was composed in a rush overnight for a coffeehouse performance the next day. The live recording is from that performance. The piece is a somewhat naively and directly influence by the progressive metal and/or neoclassical metal genre. The pitch-wheel of the synthesizer is used to a great extent, in order to emulate pitch bends and hammer-ons of a distorted electric guitar. One of the main "hooks" of this style of music is to emulate the electric guitar as much as possible on the synthesizer. You will also hear distortion guitar riffs as well as soaring solos. No score is available for this work.

performers on recording

Keyboard - Maxx Cho

Performed live on Kurzweill K2500X