Through a sort of narrative lens that might help you get to know me better, I've put a few examples below of both original works and arrangements I've done through the years. From little kiddos to the most mature musicians, I consider the creation of new works for ALL ages, ability levels, genres, and venues (both inside and out) paramount to the future of our musical arts. I am proud and honored to have had such varied opportunities writing music for people, and will certainly continue my mantra of contributing repertoire equally to all intersections of the four avenues mentioned above.
A link to my complete Catalog of Original Works can be found HERE or at the bottom of this page. Also, if you are interested in obtaining my Tapspace published works, just follow the links provided on either page to their site. Most other pieces are available directly from me through my Sheet Music Store. Finally, if something intrigues you enough here that you'd like to possibly collaborate on a commission, dedication, or an arrangement; please let me know by hitting that contact button on the top or bottom of any page. I am constantly open to healthy collaborations and would love to chat.
Written for Omar Carmenates and the Furman University Percussion Ensemble, BAD JUJU was a labor of love for nearly two years. Having been intrigued by the phrase and connotation "Bad Juju" for years, I eventually began a consistent cycle of researching, reflecting, and brainstorming until I was confident that the animus of the work was flying around my subconscious. After the premiere performance, I made several revisions to create more energy, aid in balancing primary vs. background material, and completely take the intentions of the work over-the-top. Two early performances of this this newly revised version were by my incredible kids in Kiski's Cavalier Percussion Group at the 2017 Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Ensemble Festival and another by Hamiruge-the LSU Percussion Group, under the direction of Brett Dietz. I attended and conducted the performance by Hamiruge, which was an incredible way to experience being back in Baton Rouge since I graduated in 2006.
BAD JUJU is published and available from the great guys at Tapspace HERE. I hope you'll check it out and enjoy the final product as much as I enjoyed the process.
Elements & Chemical Songs
ELEMENTS for four hands on one marimba & CHEMICAL SONGS for solo keyboard percussion instrument are both projects I did with the the gang over at Tapspace.
Within ELEMENTS, each of the four movements are clearly defined by a musical mood that captures the corresponding element, but that mood is then combined with melodic inspiration from hymns that have the element in their title. When played in sequence, the work progresses through the "elements of music," like rhythm, harmony, melody, time signature, and dynamic range/frequency. Another layer to this collection is the addition of Atmospheric Audio Tracks for each movement in the suite. This idea serves as another (awesome) avenue for connecting the natural element to the listener. There is no click-track, so once the audio starts the performers wait a few seconds and GO! No two performances will be the same, which is fantastic and expected. I collaborated with the incredible Matt Filosa on these tracks and he captured the mood, intimacy, and purpose of them beautifully.
CHEMICAL SONGS was a repurposing of an old title from my LSU days. Within the collection are a progressive set of eight solos that each fit on a standard size marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and some even on glockenspiel. I very methodically introduce different aspects of musicianship from one solo to the next, which makes these a really nice supplement to private percussion study or work in a more technique-based method book. My long-time bud Evan Brown helped me create an optional audio track with click for each solo that underscores the the title and thematic elements of each piece. My students love working on these and use the audio tracks to play along with at home!
With both collections it was my intention to create something that would encourage and inspire our youngest percussionists to take their keyboard percussion playing to new heights. ELEMENTS and CHEMICAL SONGS are available from Tapspace at: https://www.tapspace.com/duets/elements and https://www.tapspace.com/books-education/chemical-songs.
mementos & Auroras
I developed a new appreciation for the beauty of the glockenspiel after hearing my mentor, Brett William Dietz, embrace old and new music for the instrument. Inspired by his devotion, I first took an older piece that I dabbled with on vibraphone back in my LSU days and reimagined it for the glockenspiel. The resultant mementos still remains inspired by the many literary works of Chuck Palahniuk, but takes on a whole new "character" than it did with its former vibraphone persona. The eight movements are my aural realization of a subconscious full of the disturbing, hilarious, darkened, and painfully beautiful words found in Palahniuk's books. The SoundCloud files (mementos) are of my dear friend and incomparable Jude Traxler. His touch on the instrument alone is something to behold, but for me it is extra special to have his recording of this reimagination, as the original work for vibraphone was dedicated to him.
Auroras, which includes optional atmospheric audio tracks created by yours truly, represent some of the breathtaking colors seen in these rare phenomena and are depicted by various textures, moods, and harmonic languages or structures that have always spoken to me personally as feeling/sounding celestial. Brett Dietz provided the playing in these SoundCloud files as well as the incredibly committed YouTube performances of both works!
Two Preludes for Mallet Sextet
Chopin and Debussy.......just stay out of the way Chad. The source material of Two Preludes for Mallet Sextet does not get any better than this, so all I strived to do with these orchestrations was capture the intimacy, grace, subtle power, and deep emotions found in both original works. Having played and worked with pianists on pieces of this nature, I kept notes of which could work well for a chamber percussion ensemble. Combine this desire with the special kids I teach at Kiski (many that can talk about, understand and execute music on its highest levels emotionally), and you get this collection, which was written for them.
From the Tapspace website, as I couldn't say it better myself:
"(the Chopin)...exudes melancholy and despair, its beauty is undeniable. In this arrangement, contrasting timbres of woods and metals provide a foundation for such effective colors as bowed crotales and chime tremolos. This is a great piece in which the small ensemble can refine their abilities to express through fluid, elastic tempo, as well as developing a keen ability to balance."
"(Debussy)...from his first book of piano preludes, is famous for its simplicity and remains one of the composer’s most popular works. This rendition for mallet sextet captures its warm lyricism through expert orchestration. And while retaining the nature of Debussy’s simplicity, this arrangement will still provide a good challenge for ensembles in creating a cohesive sum of their parts."
Two Preludes for Mallet Sextet is available HERE from Tapspace Publications. Do yourselves a huge favor and listen to, study, and play (even if just attempting) ANY works by these two masterminds before taking on these orchestrations. That approach will make the process of putting these together all the more fun and meaningful.
Three Brothers by Michael Colgrass was the first percussion ensemble piece I ever played (I believe in my junior of high school). It also marks the beginning of my love and respect for the percussion ensemble genre and its ability to develop musical proficiency in young percussionists like no other pedagogical avenue. I was an OK musician in high school, but as soon as I was introduced to and started playing in a percussion ensemble, my musicianship, awareness, confidence, and work ethic skyrocketed. I am very fortunate to have been exposed to this at a young age and it was this experience that sits at the root of my teaching mantra to this day. So when I was tasked with a unique collection of student abilities and maturities in my early years at Kiski, I harkened back to my similar experience as a player in high school and created this work for them, inspired by the Colgrass.
I'm not sure where the title Undisclosed came from, but there is an uncertainty and edginess in the work that certainly aligns with the title. I program this piece every few years. It works really well as a teaching piece for younger ensembles.
Undisclosed was also my first published work and I will never forget the framed version of the score my wife gave me for Christmas after its release. Goosebumps. It is available HERE from Tapspace. Enjoy!