I’m working on a piece for a consortium of collegiate wind ensembles led by Heidi Miller, who is now on faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College. The consortium includes colleges across the country, from MIT in Cambridge, MA to UC-Berkeley, to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. This is my first time composing something for more than one ensemble at a time—I’m used to picturing the group I’m writing for, and often listen to recordings of those groups or individuals in order to get my ear into their sound. Well, that’s basically impossible in this scenario, but it’s also an exciting challenge that I’m having a good time with.
I Won’t Be Here Long will be a 6-8 minute piece for a small wind ensemble (ca. 28 players), and will be a meditation on American labor. The title is a line from a work song on a Library of Congress field recording from 1939, about “quitting time,” and was sung at the end of a long work day. I plan to draw heavily on the sound as well as the indelible emotional impact of these field recordings, in addition to big band jazz from the 50s and 60s, and the haunting sonorities of train whistles. It will be premiered in the winter and spring of the 2015-2016 school year at 8 colleges and universities across the country. More details regarding their performances will be posted in the Events section of this site when that information becomes available.