Current and Recent Commissions
I'm proud to be a part of this unique and timely project. Pianist Min Kwon has commissioned more than 70 composers to write a variation on "America the Beautiful" for solo piano. My contribution is entitled "Purple Mountains". The project will premiere online July 4th-9th 2021, culminating with two LIVE CONCERTS in a Brooklyn Catacomb July 8 and 9. In the words of Min Kwon....
This project has been a long time in the making, but its guiding spirit took on more special meaning for me as I worked on it over the past nine months (parallel in so many ways to giving birth!) during this unprecedented moment we are living through together. America has been shaken by concurrent crises across its social, racial, political, economic, cultural, and health sectors. In spite of these many challenges, however, I am grateful for the time that the pandemic has afforded me - to dedicate myself to exploring the sound worlds of so many wonderful American composers, and the profound diversity of backgrounds and styles they represent. I am humbled that they have agreed to contribute to this dream vision of mine and that they have entrusted me to bring their music to life.
The voices of these "United Composers of America" form a powerful chorus, a collective musical snapshot that I'm sure will reverberate far beyond the present moment. I can't wait to share this project with you, and I hope it helps to remind us, in spite of all the difficulties we face, that there is still so much beauty in this country of ours.
I am proud and humbled on THIS DAY, to announce the presentation of my work "Sinfonietta of Dreams" for chamber orchestra and gospel choir. The work is based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have A Dream" speech, first heard in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on November 27, 1962 and is featured as part of their ARC annual MLK Tribute Concert. Many thanks to Peter Askim for commissioning the work three years ago and helping me to realize this ambitious project.
Below is a description of the program.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
3:00 PM CDT online event
"The Arc" annual MLK Tribute Concert
In celebrating Dr. King, the Sinfonietta has selected three enthralling works by a trio of African American composers: Florence Price, Joel Thompson, and Jeff Scott. William Grant Still’s orchestral arrangement of Florence Price’s piano work, Dances in the Canebrakes, now a Chicago Sinfonietta signature, highlights the talent of composers of color from yesteryear and kicks off the celebration with a joyful note.
The Sinfonietta’s second commission by a composer of color for the 2020-21 season follows. Written by composer Joel Thompson, it is titled breathe/burn: an elegy and composed in memory of Breonna Taylor. Thompson describes the work as "an exploration of the liminal space between grief and rage in response to the tragedies afflicting the Black community in 2020" and it is performed with the extremely talented Chicago cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing in the role of soloist.
Jeff Scott’s work, Sinfonietta of Dreams, reinforces the positive inspiration of Dr. King’s work and is based on his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” first heard in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on November 27, 1962. The Sinfonietta closes the online concert with a Chicago Sinfonietta tradition: We Shall Overcome, performed in unison from homes across the country in a spirit of hope and resilience.
FLORENCE PRICE Dances in the Canebrakes
I. Nimble Feet
II. Tropical Noon
III. Silk Hat and Walking Cane
JOEL THOMPSON breathe/burn*: an elegy composed in memory of Breonna Taylor
JEFF SCOTT Sinfonietta of Dreams
Adapted by Hamilton, Horton, and Seeger (arr. Roy Ringwald)
We Shall Overcome
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Antoine T. Clark, guest conductor
Joel Thompson, composer
Ifetayo Ali-Landing, cello
*World Premiere, Chicago Sinfonietta Commission
Scheduled for April 2021, the Lantana Trio and University of North Texas have commissioned a new work for brass trio. "Tableaux from the Equator" explores the rhythms and sounds from various cities and cultures that straddle the equator.
Scheduled for Summer 2021, Quadre has commissioned a multi-movement work for Horn Quartet and Chorus. "Terra Sacrum" (Sacred Earth) speaks to nature, earth and their laws handed down by the God of Christian faith. This work also explores the sonorous pairing of human voices and french horns.
Scheduled for Fall 2021, the Atlantic Brass Quintet has commissioned a multi-movement work. "Sermon for Sinners and Saints" will take you on a rhythmic and emotional carpet ride through Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Funk.
Scheduled for 2021, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has commissioned a 3 movement work for wind quintet and chamber orchestra. "Paradise Valley Serenade" will feature the principle winds of DSO in a retrospective of the glorious music making housed in this historically significant theater.
Scheduled for a November 2021 premiere, Lyric Fest has commissioned "A Morte Devegar" through the generous gift of Jeffrey Brillhart and Joacy Mendonça, as part of THE SONG CATCHER - A Folksong Project in November 2021.
Click below for a short, digital audio teaser....
Scheduled for a February 2021 premiere, "Sunrise on the Bayou" was
Commissioned by The United States Air Force Band, Colonel Don Schofield, Commander and Conductor. It is scored for string orchestra with accordion and percussion and explores the joyful rhythms and sounds of SOCA music.
Click below for a short, digital audio teaser....
Commissioned by the Portland Youth Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative, and premiered in November 2020, "Circle Dance" was composed for a horn quartet. The inspiration behind this new work was the communal, folk tradition of dancing in a circle, which has history in many cultures. Specifically, I focused on the rhythms of the African and Latin traditions. I feel it an important factor for all musicians, but especially young musicians, to become familiar with as many different musical influences as possible. Here was a great opportunity to help in that effort.
"Homage to Paradise Valley", commissioned by Akropolis Reed Quintet, will be featured on their next cd release, Ghost Light. The cd drops April 9th 2021!
Scheduled for a Spring 2022, Carnegie Hall premiere, Für Meinen Vater (For My Father) was commissioned by Music Kitchen - Food for the Soul in celebration of the 100th concert and 15th season, featuring text by homeless shelter client. This project is the brain-child of violinist, Kelly Hall Tompkins who has curated the concert series at the Music kitchen.