Posts tagged scenes from america


New York, New York. This is the next piece in my Scenes from America series. Last fall, I was asked to write a piece for the wonderful NYC guitarist Kenji Haba. I decided to write one about the city since I had been spending a lot of time there. It’s fitting that I did since I ended up moving to Manhattan mere days before Kenji premiered this work in a city church (pictured below).

The piece tries to do three things. It tries to convey the idea of a “New York Minute,” to juxtapose the calm sanctuary of the Grand Central trains vs. the claustrophobia and chaos that I feel once I am bombarded by the exiting crowds, and to express the unrelenting industrial drive that could create and sustain such an empire. Basically, it’s a day-trip to the city.


Although my music has been performed before, this was the first time I was actually able to be in the concert audience, and it was a wonderful experience. It was also an honor to be involved with Vox Novus and the great work they are doing for new music and homeless advocacy at Jan Hus Church. All in all, having my piece “New York, NY” premiered in NYC the week that my wife and I moved here made for a nice welcome to our new home. So far so good.

Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek, California - This is something I’m working on. It’s a movement of what will eventually be a set of sketches called “Scenes from America”. This movement is called “Salt Creek, California,” which is a beach from my adolescence that I have (mostly) fond memories of (pictured to the right). The outer sections use alternating measures of 7/16+5/16 which can also be heard as ¾ with syncopated accents (4+3+3+2; but that’s messier to write). 

This was commissioned by Yale alum and Canadian guitarist Bruno Roussel for a repertoire book he is publishing in Canada. More coming soon, let me know what you think! 


UPDATED 3/8/2011:  

A friend once told me “if you don’t like a piece, make it better." I’ve since decided to revise this piece to better reflect the range of feelings I have about Salt Creek beach in California. So, this is the new draft I’m working with. A bit more contemplative and longing than the original: Walks with girlfriends as the whitewash nips at your feet, dropping into a wave at daybreak, philosophizing about life over a bonfire, watching the sunlight spread across the water as it sets, and nostalgia for relationships come and gone. I think that’s all represented here now in a way it wasn’t before, and I hope you agree that it is in fact, better.  

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