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Small Ensembles

A Due (2008)

Duration: 4’
Instrumentation: bass, piano
Commission: Basso Moderno, for their touring repertoire. Premiere, Hartford Women Composers’ Festival, 2008, additional performances, TBA.

Explores how the sound worlds of bass and piano overlap and contrast. The opening is an improvisatory crescendo-diminuendo in which the players to attune to one another. An equal partnership between the instruments, with some use of extended techniques. The overall mood – meditative, lyrical, impassioned.

Strange Cohabitation (2007)

Duration: 8’
Instrumentation: Piano 4-hands
Commission: The Lark Ascending. Premiere Austrian Cultural Forum, 2007, additional performances, St. Marks Church, Mannes College of Music, Saint Peter’s Church, NY, NY; Howland Cultural Center, Beacon, NY.

Three short character pieces inspired by Nancy Bogen’s story, Twelve Tone Blues. The piece describes the character and the relationship of an old married couple - a pair of opposites who complement each other, but sometimes ruffle each other’s feathers. He’s a self-serious composer; she a whimsical intellectual. Musical jokes abound, as well as lyricism, and a chance for theatrics if the players are so-inclined.

My American Shtetl (2007)

Duration: 20’
Instrumentation: violin, cello, piano, narrator
Commission: Alaria. Premiere Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, 2007.
Bel Kaufman narrating.

Two Sholom Aleichem stories abridged, paraphrased and with added commentary by his granddaughter, the author, Bel Kaufman (Up the Down Staircase). Tells the Jewish immigrant’s tale with humor and pathos, laughter through tears. Music weaves strands of Klezmer dance tunes, Yiddish songs, ragime, and jazz, with a modern classical approach.

Finding Accord (2005)

Duration: 7’
Instrumentation: violin, cello, piano
Commission: Alaria. Premiere Saint Peter’s Church, Citigroup, 2005.

Explores the three voices of the piano trio as they go in and out of agreement with one another. Violinist doubles on light percussion in a few places. Some simple preparation of the piano.

Incidental Ducklings (2004)

Duration: 5’
Instrumentation: violin, cello, piano
Premiere, Saint Peter’s Church, Citigroup, 2004; Weill Hall, 2005; Chicago performance and radio broadcast by Accessible Contemporary Music, 2009.

Dance and incidental music from the The Ugly Duckling. Three short movements - Duckling Dance, Ducks in Summer, and Duck Etiquette. From funny to lyrical.

Dialogues with the Distant Mountains (1987/rev. 2005)

Duration: 8’
Instrumentation: saxophone and piano
First performed with a grant from the Atlanta Music Teachers’ Association.
Early performances in Atlanta and California.
Premiere of revised version, Saint Peter’s Church, Citigroup.

Three short movements, early 20th century French feeling combines with a bluesy aspect, and a bit of Bulgarian rhythm.

Solo Works

Visions Fugitives (2008)

Duration: N/A - ongoing
Instrumentation: piano
Commission: Access Through Music
Premiere of first in the set, Minnesota concert series, 2008.

A set of very short piano pieces – ephemera, an ouvre inspired by Prokofiev. The first eight were evoked by my summer residency in Taos. Others in the works.  

Buscando (2006)

Duration: 9’
Instrumentation: Harpsichord
Commission: Arthur Haas, Professor of Music, Mannes College of Music, Stony Brook University.
Premiere Stony Brook, 2006.

A wanderlust of a piece, a modern day ricerare, one theme leading to the next, sometimes inevitably, sometimes with surprise. Opportunity for virtuosity can be tailored to your temperament. Opportunity for embellishment and improvisation harkens to the Baroque.

Rant (2004)

Duration: 6.5’
Instrumentation: solo cello or bass viol
Commission: Martha McGauhey, Faculty, Mannes College of Music. Premiere, Mannes College of Music, 2004.
Additional performances: Saint Peter’s Church Citigroup, Christ & St. Stephens Church, Ethical Culture Society.

A dialogue of opposites, the music explores a range of lyric and percussive possibilities. I hope that each performer will make it his or her, own rant.

Voice and Piano

Chain Reaction (2008)

Text by Debra Kaye
Duration: 4 ½’
Instrumentation: soprano and piano
Commission: Nancy Ogle, Professor of Music, University of Maine.
Premiere, University of Maine, ceremony for Fulbright scholars, 2008. NY Composers Circle performance, 2009.

An ultimately hopeful song about global warming. Lyrical and dramatic, Joni Mitchell meets art song with a bit of drama queen thrown in, giving the prima donna a chance to laugh at herself. At times, the singer plays on the piano strings. Tessitura is mostly in the mid-range.

Slants of Light – Four songs on poems of Emily Dickinson (2003)

Duration: 11’
Instrumentation: mezzo or baritone and piano
Premiere, C.U.N.Y. (2003); Saint Peter’s Church, Citigroup, 2003.

The cycle includes the following poems: Not Knowing, There’s a Certain Slant of light, I Heard a Fly Buzz when I Died, and This is the Land the Sunset Washes. Piano is equal partner to the voice.

Where You Are (2002)

Poem by Walt Whitman
Duration: 3’
Instrumentation: tenor and piano
Premiered: Second Presbyterian Church, NYC, 2004.

O you whom I often and silently come where you are that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.

Where the Sidewalk Ends – 21 songs with poems by Shel Silverstein (1990)

Poems by Shel Silverstein
Duration: 25’
Instrumentation: tenor, soprano, and piano
Status: Pending acquisition of rights.

Shel Silverstein’s funny and clever poems are set with simplicity and drama in a folk influenced modern classical style.

Theater and Opera

The Ugly Duckling (1998)

Duration: 1 hour
Instrumentation: piano/vocal or piano, vocal, flute, trumpet, bass,
Premiered: The Westside Y, extended run. 1998 - 1999.

A musical version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale. Produced by Literally Alive Children’s Theater ( Premiere 1998, Little Theater at the Westside Y. Additional productions in 2000, and 2006. Over 100 performances. Favorable notices in the NY Times.

The North Wind and the Sun (1995)

Chamber opera
Duration: 21 min.
Instrumentation: piano/vocal
Status: Excerpts soon available. See Children’s Chorus.

Premiered at Mannes College of Music, second performance at Steinway Hall.
Excerpts from The North Wind and the Sun are available for children’s chorus.

Counting Sheep (1988)

Duration: 3’
Text: by Debra Kaye
Instrumentation: 3-part polymentric choral reading.

Premiered Atlanta, GA, additional performances in CA, and at Steinway Hall.

Time to Rise (1998)

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Duration: 40 sec.
Instrumentation: mezzo and piano
Status: Not yet performed.

The poem:
A birdie with a yellow bill, Hopped upon my window sill, Cocked his shining eye and said: “Ain’t you ‘shamed, you sleepy head?”

The Country Mouse & the City Mouse (1998)

Poem by Richard Scrafton Sharpe
Duration: 5’
Instrumentation: mezzo and piano

A mini-opera, the song tells the famous story. Combines the simplicity of folk music and operatic styles. Piano is an equal partner.

For the Young

For Young Pianists

Getting Ready for the Guests (2000)

Duration: 1’
Level: Advanced Beginner or Early Intermediate

The left hand plays a staccato, quarter note middle C throughout, while right hand ventures into sixteenth notes. Inspired by the irregular patterns in Scarlatti, students with a good ear can learn the piece by rote. Meant to evoke the rushing around and cleaning up before the guests arrive, the piece ends with a laugh, the doorbell rings.

5 finger pieces
By rote

Bought a Cat

Duration: 30 sec. or less
Level: Young beginner - suitable within the first weeks of lessons

This three-note song using middle C, D, and E, tells the story of a child who buys a variety of animals and brings them all home. Lots of melodic repetition makes it easy to learn, and a good song for training the ear to hear skips and steps. There is also a chance for the child to insert the name of his/her sibling into the song.
Text by the composer.

Sometimes I Run to Catch the Bus

Duration: 30 sec. or less
Level: Experienced young beginner

Easy to learn, a good song for training the ear to hear scale-wise motion, skips within the tonic triad, and finding tonic, it ends with a leap to the tonic after the words – “Sometimes I make it!” That can be a cause for discussion – did you make it? Text by the composer.

Carol Has a Play Date

Duration: 30 sec. or less
Level: Young beginner

This song stays within the 5-finger position and uses repeated notes, good for training the ear to hear and coordinate when the melody moves and when it stays the same. Text by the composer.

For teaching students to draw a treble clef…

The Treble Clef Song

The words of the song colorfully describe how to a draw a treble clef...”You start with a fish hook…” At first the teacher can sing as the student draws the clef, soon enough the student learns the words. Helps even the youngest students to draw the clef successfully.