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Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Euphonium, Piano
This Concerto for Euphonium and Wind Band was composed for one of my former teachers and fellow euphonist Dr. Gail Robertson. For this work I based the material around pitches corresponding to each letter of her first name: G = G natural; A = A natural; I = Ionian, or the current key’s tonic, C natural; L = Lydian, or the fourth degree of the current key, F natural. Each movement is derived in some way from this figure.
The work begins with an energetic fanfare and a taste of the second theme. The euphonium enters with similar pomp and dazzling virtuosity that settles into more heroic statements. Next, the euphonium soars over thick ensemble textures in a tender reflection. Finally, the soloist charges forth in a ferocious display of dexterity and power.
The Concerto premiered April 21st, 2016 by Dr. Gail Robertson (euphonium) and the Little Rock Wind Symphony - Israel Getzov, conductor.Learn More
Instrumentation: Quartet Instruments: French Horn
In three movenents, this is a great challenge for any college level Horn Quartet:
One afternoon while working my summer job at the Air Force Armament Museum in Eglin, Florida, I was asked to dust off some artifacts in display cases. On the last display on the first half of the building I was stopped by one of my co-workers. He pointed out that this final artifact, a navigation tool, was hazardous because of the radioactive radium paint. This was a fact I was briefed on weeks earlier but had slipped my mind.
“There are three types of radiation”, he explained, “Alpha, which is pretty calm; Beta, which is a little gnarly but still alright. Finally, with Gamma – you’re screwed!”
Radicals follows this same concept musically. Alpha is simple and serene; the quartet bounces between major triads and slight rhythmic alterations. Beta hinges between cute and troublesome in a squirrely scherzo while Gamma goes off the deep end and is extremely treacherous.
Radicals was premiered on April 5th, 2014 by Josie Wisser, Emily Judd, John Apostolides, and Katie Rudzik at the University of Central Florida.
Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Piano, Tuba
The Phoenix is a tour de force piece for tuba and piano commissioned by Kayla Davis. The piece represents the internal and external struggles associated with challenging a mindset that desperately needs repair but refuses to listen. Daunting chords signify a near-impossible foe while the tuba represents a lone phoenix fighting for change. Inevitably the phoenix is wounded and nears defeat. It is in this time that the slightest glimmer of hope gives way to rebirth – a stronger and wiser version of the phoenix charges forth, refusing to yield. The work ends triumphantly but whether the battle has been won or our phoenix has escaped to see another day is up to the listener to discern.
The material of this work is derived from a seven-note motive created by assigning each letter in the word “phoenix” to a pitch. There are also several references to composers and works Kayla and I were performing during the piece’s inception. Some references are harmonic or rhythmic, some are structural, and others cry out at the frustrations associated with daily life in a place where the mindset needs challenging.
The Phoenix premiered April 19th, 2015 by Kayla Davis (tuba) and Elisabeth Tomczyk (piano) at the Hartt School of Music.Learn More
Instrumentation: Ensemble Instruments: Euphonium, French Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba
For brass ensemble: 4 Trumpets, 4 Horns, 3 Trombones 2 Euphoniums and 2 Tubas
Graduations are a joyful and momentous occasion. Years of hard work are validated and the celebrations in hopes of a successful future are many. One of my favorite graduation traditions is the playing of Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance – March No. 1 (1901) and it is the inspiration for this fanfare.
To celebrate my little brother, Christopher Nunes, and his high school graduation I took select fragments from Elgar’s piece and reworked them into new material. These fragments flourish and spread throughout the ensemble while increasing the excitement with each recurrence. Once the music has reached its peak the full ensemble moves in unison through thick chords that show off the power of brass.
Instrumentation: Duet Instruments: French Horn
For 2 French Horns:
We all have at least one person in our lives we cannot stand but put up with. When this interaction occurs, most people present a calm composure but internally there is a litany of frustration. The energetic horns represent this range of emotion with the extremes of the instrument: large intervals between parts, repetitive and jagged sixteenth note patterns, and gnarly falls that mimic a snarl of the title.
Contrary to this inspiration the performers I wrote this for (Emily Judd and Katie Rudzik) are two of the nicest people I had the pleasure of meeting in Orlando. Their enthusiasm and advice were crucial to the formation of this work. JERK was premiered by the commissioners on March 15th, 2015 at the University of Central Florida.
Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Baritone Sax, Piano
Genre: Contemporarywith Piano
Constance is a piece composed for Nicholas Kevin Phillips, a saxophone player I met at the University of Central Florida, as a personal thank you for his generous donation to my “Get Matt to Maryland” Rally via rally.org. The inspiration for this work is the constant drive required to get where we want our lives to go. This is represented by the striving baritone saxophone melody. It evolves slowly, reflectively, aiming for the heights – a celebration of success and joy. The celebration is short-lived as we realize we have not yet arrived and that we are farther away than we initially thought… Learn More
Instrumentation: Duet Instruments: Flute, Tuba
Genre: ContemporaryFlute and Tuba: I. ALLEMANDE (BEVO) II. CORRENTE (THE HILL) III. SARABANDE (CHEROKEE STREET) IV. GIGUE (THE REST OF US) Learn More