-Anonymous review of Shadow Waltz
I write music that uses analysis as a primary tool for generating musical architecture and grammar, combining expressivity and urgency within complex, self-generating formal frameworks. I like having as many different tools in my musical toolbox as possible, which I use to write music with distinct emotional affects. I’m currently getting my PhD in Composition at the University at Buffalo on a Presidential Fellowship, where I study with David Felder and Jonathan Golove. Previously, I got my BM in Composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where I studied with Michael Rothkopf, Lawrence Dillon, and Kenneth Frazelle, and my MFA in Composition and Theory at Brandeis University, where I studied with Yu-Hui Chang, David Rakowski, Eric Chasalow, and Erin Gee.
Some highlights include The Land God Forgot, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, To the Memory of an Old Soul and Strange Languages, performed by the Lydian String Quartet, Zibaldone, recorded by Sound Icon, Invasion of the Minor Seconds, recorded by Eighth Blackbird, the Chernobyl-inspired The Elephant’s Foot, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, “Teton Pass” from Symphony №. 1 The Grand Tetons, performed by the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jessica Morel, Awakening, commissioned by Wachovia Winds, Overdrive, commissioned and performed by Low & Lower, Nonexistent Chimera, recorded by Robin Meiksins, Imaginary Poetry, performed by Jubal Fulks, The Pines, performed by the UNCSA Cantata Singers, and Christmas Dance and Snowfall for the Tanglewood Festival of Lights.
I love collaborating with other artists. At UNCSA, I was elected to a student organization that fostered collaboration in my senior year. My music has been screened in films that have been selected for film festivals across North Carolina, and my dance collaborations range from fun, 90-minute slapdash projects to fully produced modern dance productions, including 17 (written in memory of the Parkland shooting victims), Hommage à Feldman et Brown, a Max/MSP patch for a reconstruction of a Cage/Cunningham collaboration, and an in-progress, 25-minute work for Casio VL-1, theremin, and live processing commissioned by an MFA student for her thesis project. The touchstone of my vocal music is the work of Robert W. Service, the “Bard of the Yukon,” a poet who has been important in my family and whose vivid imagery has rarely been set to music outside of my own work. While I have a soft spot for the twentieth century’s spiciest chords, I try to keep an “amateur’s ear” open at all times to maintain a connection to how non-specialists perceive music.
I’m not just a composer, either—I was the pianist and organist at St. Michael Lutheran Church in High Point, NC from 2013–19, and a bass at St Michael’s Episcopal Church in Marblehead, MA from 2019–20. I’ve played gangsa, reyong, ceng-ceng, and saron in the Balinese gong kebyar ensembles Gamelan Giri Murti in Winston-Salem, NC (under Dr. Elizabeth Clendinning and I Made Lasamawan) and Gamelan Galak Tika (under Evan Ziporyn and Pak Gusti Komin) from 2016–20. The biggest highlight of this was a wild road trip from NC to Washington, DC, when Giri Murti was invited by the ACC to perform at the Smithsonian.
What I’m best-known for in the classical music world is probably my YouTube channel “Classical Nerd,” which I’ve run since 2016. Musicology is my second love, and something I feel to be the flip side of the compositional coin. It’s important to me to know where I fit into this grand tale, and even more important for me to build a resource for listeners who are interested in getting into classical music. Episodes of the show have been used as supplementary material around the world, and the channel has accrued over two million views.