Piano Works

Piano. 2019.

Composed for Dr. Stephen Sachs, who premiered the work on February 22, 2019.  The music voices the idea of its title with the interplay of three themes....

Piano. 2017.

In memoriam Joel David Sauerwein (1959-2017).

Piano. 2016.

A pensive reflection on the last few verses of Psalm 19.


Piano. 2014.

A still-life image of the Tower of Babel.  The firstfruits of ongoing collaborative work with artist Jacob Rowan.

Piano. 2013.

Composed on the heels of completing Sakharoviana, this piece evokes a speculative image of Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov's calm, thoughtful, compassionate curiosity. 

After a Coffee Stain (Digression VII)

Piano. 2010.

A wistful etude, named after an early mishap in the compositional process.

Playrude (Digression VI)

Piano. 2010.

A short prelude with a silly name.

Near Love and Sleep

Piano. 2002.

A birthday present for my charming wife, Quita, and a sincere, whimsical portrait of our affection and friendship.  Imagine drifting off to sleep while meditating on a peaceful, secure, adventurous companionship -- riches beyond what words (or music) can express. 

Dreams of Swans (Digression IV)

Piano. 2000.

A friend of mine commissioned this as a birthday gift for his wife.  It includes a handful of references to well-known romantic pieces, as well as a variety of subtle allusions to melodic motives from a familiar celebratory tune.    

(Digression V)

Piano. 1997.

This piece never got a suitable title, and was inadvertently numbered out of order among the ongoing set of Digressions.

Piano. 1993.

These pieces comment on a common but problematic way of thinking. The musical language for this series is deliberately contrived to be abstract and open to unbridled interpretation, but its use evokes intentionally vivid and concrete imagery.

I. Prelude

II. Leviathan

III. Invention

IV. Artifice

V. Lounge

VI. Statues

VII. Postlude

For Margo (Digression II)

Piano. 1991.

I composed this short prelude during a workshop on choreography and composition.  My collaborator (Margo van Ummerson) independently designed a solo dance, and we put the two together, sight unseen.  The effect was surprisingly captivating...

Piano. 1989.

Snow Music is a conversational meditation on a single moment of wonder: One evening, halfway through composing this piece, sitting at the piano in a pool of lamplight, I was surprised to notice snowflakes falling outside my living-room window. Their simple, swirling, entrancing beauty crystallized the music's expressive focus.

You may be wondering about Digressions I and III. Originally entitled "Insipid Digressions", they were youthful experiments in collaboration with a fellow composer.  In our first session, we drafted in turns, each completing the other's phrase and beginning a new one, until the piece found a natural end.  In a later session, my friend gave me a twelve-tone row and a rhythmic gesture, with which I composed a short etude.  Out of this grew the sporadic habit of writing a short piano piece in a whimsical vein, and some of these survive beyond their first draft.

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