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Fire Music for orchestra

I composed Fire Music over a period of about 9 months in 2009-2010 then later revised it for a performance with the Minnesota Orchestra, under Osmo Vänskä, in 2015. It was my third attempt at writing for the orchestra, and I wanted to experiment with the wide range of sounds and colors that were available to me. Fire Music is also an experiment in form. The piece is made up of a number of contrasting sections that unfold somewhat haphazardly, frenetically stumbling from one thought to the next. I imagined the title as a way to translate this central conceit of the music’s organization – the form itself behaves like a kind of conflagration. An initial spark ignites some tinder, which then gradually builds until it exhausts itself and finds a new source of fuel, or arrives at a new section. I also intended for the orchestra itself to sound ‘fiery’—at times it crackles, pops, and burns with intensity. Underlying this process is a long-term sense of increasing coherence; seemingly disjointed, or noisy, sounds gradually transform into melodies and harmonies. The culmination of this progression coincides with the emotional climax of the music, as well the only instance of a proper cadence (from the standpoint of harmony). The music then trails off, like dying embers.


Instrumentation: picc, 2 fl, 2 ob (2nd doubles eng hn), 2 cl, 2 bsn, 4 hn, 3 tpt, 3 tbn, tba, timp, 3 perc, hp, pno, str​

To inquire about performances, purchase of the score, and rental of parts, please email me at

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