Enough (2018) was written for the mixed quartet Front Porch and explores the concept of “enough.” As musicians, we ask ourselves “Is this enough?” in a multitude of specific situations: “Is it loud/soft/high/low/long/short/etc. enough?” More largely, as human beings, we ponder our purpose in life, the things that fulfill us, and the actions we take, all in the name of what is or could be “enough” for us. The piece examines these questions on both a musical and extra-musical level as the quartet investigates what is enough—technically, stylistically, and emotionally.
Burning Day (2019), written for saxophonist Giovanna Virgil, is a piece
about the life cycle of a phoenix. The work does not trace the mythological creature’s death and rebirth exactly, but rather explores the idea that the phoenix symbolizes both destruction and renewal. There is something really poignant about a grand and beautiful animal bursting into flame and becoming a grey and papery ash, a feeling that humans experience as we move through different stages of life, both ones that build us up to our highest potential and those that feel like the end. In the latter case, we look to find how we may be reborn from our own ashes.
Matriarch (2020), written for the 2020 Michigan Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Prize, was inspired by my two grandmothers, Dianne Flagello and Olive Herring, who were matriarchs in every sense of the word. From them, I learned how to lead, energize, forgive, empathize, persevere, and, most relevantly to this piece, evolve. Grandma and Nanny are true role models, and this made me wonder what parts of myself come from them. When I react to a difficult situation or celebrate an accomplishment, the way in which I do it is borne of the family who came before me. Matriarch uses musical material based on my own name to demonstrate how we learn to move through the world through the lives of our ancestors. The Gala Flagello theme encounters many twists and turns as it adapts to changes in its environment (texture), headspace (range), personal circle (voicing), and age (duration). When I reach 90, as Grandma will this year, or 93, like Nanny did, I hope to be even half the matriarch these women represent to me. Special thanks to the Michigan Music Teachers Association and Music Teachers National Association for supporting the Commissioned Composer Prize, and to Pure Winds for premiering Matriarch and championing new music for wind quintet.
Anonymous Woman (2018) was written for NYC-based vocal ensemble Khorikos and utilizes a quote attributed to Virginia Woolf as its text: "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." The work was premiered at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY.
Self-Talk (2018) is a piece about the stories we tell ourselves—our inner voice, our commentary on our own actions and emotions. Each movement is a different manifestation of self-talk. The first movement, “Fable,” describes an instance where the protagonist learns about themselves over time through trial and error. The rhythmic material of this movement was derived from a line of Jim Harrison’s poetry: “I was a fable to myself.” The second movement, “Transformation,” describes a person’s shifting perspective over time, which parallels the transformations of the melody after each musical interruption. The final movement, “Pursuit,” propels the protagonist toward a pre-determined goal with a few unexpected turns along the way.
I Could Fall (2016) is about the evolution of trust. The piece is marked “freely” so that the performers may make decisions on the evenness or unevenness of tempo and phrasing, a microcosm of changing human emotion, whether toward oneself, another individual, or the situation at hand. Thank you to the Dulciana Vocal Ensemble of Dublin, Ireland for premiering this work.