Composition for Student Ensembles

The list below is a sample of my compositions for school ensembles. This is not a complete list. I have composed other works each category below, as well as some pieces that don't fit neatly into a standard instrumentation. Most of these pieces were originally written for my school groups or ensembles directed by my colleagues.

Embedded in the lists are pdf versions of the scores of each piece for anyone to peruse. Also included is a brief description of each piece and a recorded excerpt (if a decent live recording exists or if a reasonable electronic version could be created.) If you are interested in having your school group perform any of these pieces or you would like to discuss the commission of a piece written especially for your ensemble, please use the contact button in the menu at the top of the page to reach me. I allow most of my pieces to be performed without charge (or very inexpensively to cover the cost of reproduction) and my fees for a new commission are very reasonable and always negotiable.

Concert Band:

Tango #1 (2009)
Concert Band Intermediate/Advanced

Tango #1 was written for and intermediate/advanced high school ensemble. The subtitle "the lonely gaucho's revenge" came to me because of the lonely feeling of the maid section of the piece combined with the defiant third section (the revenge). The "B" section of the work provides some "mariachi-like trumpet parts. The recording included is the Yorktown High School Symphonic Band under the direction of Brian Bersh from a performance in 2013.

Ridge Road March (2004)
Concert Band

The next five pieces on the listed were originally written for my concert bands at Gunston Middle School. Most are from the easy to intermediate level. The recording of Ridge Road March was made in 2005. The ensemble performing on this recording is the Swanson Middle School Symphonic Band under the direction of Paul J. Norris.

Mariposa Negra (2007)
Concert Band

Mariposa Negra (Black Butterfly) was composed in 2007. I was experimenting with an accompaniment pattern using a "pyramid effect" where the harmony becomes more dense as different instruments join and different times. I have explored this idea in many of my compositions. In this one I was looking to try it in an easier piece for young people.

Note: The recording for Mariposa Negra was made using a virtual instrument library and MIDI tracks

Middle River Overture (2005)
Concert Band

My family had a favorite campground that we visited many times that was situated by a waterfall on the Middle River in Virginia. This piece was written with tubing down that river in mind. In typical "overture" style its opening section is quick and exciting and later it transitions to a slower section in triple meter only to return eventually to the opening idea.

Autumn Air (2007)
Concert Band

Often times when working with young musicians it is more difficult to play slower pieces than quicker ones. This piece was written to emphasize work or phrasing and intonation with a piece in a slower tempo. In 2017 I arranged this piece for mandolin orchestra and it works well for that ensemble too.

Titan (2009)
Concert Band

I have always had an interest in space. I often joke that if I had to pick a non-musical career (and if I was way better at math) I would perhaps choose astro physics. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. In 2004 the Cassini-Huygens probe began its orbit around Saturn after a 13 year journey. At the time of this composition there were some great pictures and wonderful information coming back to earth from that mission. This piece was an attempt at an interdisciplinary lesson/unit in cooperation with a science teacher.

Tetraction (2007)
Concert Band
Very Easy

This is a very easy piece for beginning band. All the parts only use 4 pitches (a tetrachord). The title is a combination of the words "tetra" meaning four (as in tetrachord) and "action." This piece is playable by elementary band students with very little experience.

String Orchestra:

The Pillars of Herecles (2002)
String Orchestra

This piece was written for an Intermediate level string orchestra. It is a musical depiction of one of the "trials" of Herecles (aka Hercules.) The recording was made by Wakefield High School Symphonic Orchestra in 2005 under the direction of Gene Pohl.

A Warrior's Return (2005)
String Orchestra

This piece was written as a thank you gift to the Wakefield High School Symphonic Orchestra for performing on my Master's recital. Wakefield's mascot is the warrior.

Guitar Ensemble:

Trio #1
Funky Little 4
Celebration for 24 Strings
In the Moment

All four of the following guitar ensemble pieces were written for my guitar ensembles in middle and high school. Trio #1 is the easiest (all first position w/ not sharps of flats. Funky Little 4 is an exploration of chromatic notes (still all playable in 1st position but, with the option of using some 3rd position fingerings). The last two pieces are still mostly 1st position pieces but they both add some chords to in some of the parts.