Migrations in Rhythm
Commissioned by the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, under conductor John Devlin. Migrations combines elements of beatboxing and both prewritten and freestyle rap verses within the context of an orchestral concerto. The concerto provides a musical setting for Christylez’s storytelling and virtuosic rhythmic explorations in the styles of hip-hop, Agbadza, ring shout, Irish traditional music, rumba, New Orleans jazz, funk, Bossa Nova, and go-go. In this work, the concept of different rhythmic streams occurring at once serves as a metaphor for the diversity of musical experiences in America. Migrations traces the evolution of these rhythmic concepts in the interaction between different peoples in past and present-day America. The work will be premiered on September 29th, 2022.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant
Commissioned by the American Lyric Theater and written in collaboration with librettist EM Lewis. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant is a mash-up of a Sherlock Holmes mystery with ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ As a composer, this scenario presented rich musical and dramatic possibilities for me. I could create a musical world for Victorian-era Baker Street, the setting of these iconic characters. The music conveys a sense of mystery and adventure as Holmes and Watson explore a world of fairy tales and climb a beanstalk into the magical land of Nor-Wood. Throughout, Holmes grapples with the conflicting duality of logic and magic. The story highlights Holmes' well-known musical expertise and abilities. A magic harp plays ‘musical clues,’ borrowed from operatic examples, allowing the audience to participate in the solution of the mystery. It is my hope that the piece will be an entertaining (and educational!) experience for family audiences, introducing them to opera both new and old. Read more about the opera, watch a performance, and view perusal scores here.