The Missing was my first piece composed specifically for dance. Eryc’s emotions are raw and unpretentious. He is informed about the traditions, expectations, and languages of modern dance, but no heady agenda ever interferes with the emotional impact he wants the dance to make first and foremost. So I consciously relinquished the scholastic agendas I’d been exposed to in my education (and which I’d always rebelled against anyway) and sought out whatever would allow dancers to feel the journey viscerally - not cerebrally. For example, I committed to repetition in the base line and brought it way down low to reach the vibrations that only thick wires can hit your gut with. I was also very deliberate with the long-range crescendo and decrescendo of this piece; each section feeds into the next, ever driving, pushing, and climaxing. Eryc’s choreography transformed a muscular piano solo into a powerful experience.

After spending a weekend rehearsal retreat with the dancers of Eryc Taylor Dance, I observed modern dance is frequently adverse - if not afraid - to exploring stillness. To permit light to enter the density of all that movement. As a composer, that fear is very relatable. In reaction, I wrote Song for Cello and Piano to inspire and encourage choreography to breathe and contrast all that go, go, go. My goal was to compose a piece illuminated by a shimmering faraway light that slowly nears closer and closer as the duet progresses.

Eryc Taylor Dance commissioned a 12 to 15 minute piece as the second of seven parts in his E A R T H project. I knew the scope and length of this project required something big. Without the resources to pay for a full orchestra and recording studio, Earth Creation became my first composition produced in a digital medium. I wanted dancers and listeners to experience the contrast between the catastrophic collisions that formed Earth and the serenity and beauty of a landscape relatively stable enough for mammals to evolve.

Funded by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Marta Heflin Foundation.

The subject of Part Four of Eryc Taylor’s epic E A R T H project is the rise of human civilization. After I pinpointed that the commonality of all successful ancient and modern civilizations is the ability of humans to sacrifice personal needs for the greater good, I launched this piece with a noble French Horn solo. Paralleling the gradual development of civility within culture, this melody gradually adopts a stricter meter as order is cemented, growing contrapuntally. In the middle segment, I contrasted the nobility with a march of progress, marked by a strident feeling of inevitability, even at the expense of human rights and nature. To reflect civilization, I deliberately grounded this music in classical tonality, abandoning modern academic dictates of musical “modality” - or lack of it.

Funded by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Marta Heflin Foundation.


IN PROGRESS: “Mother Nature Sends Warnings” commissioned by Eryc Taylor Dance.

IN PROGRESS: “The Lure” commissioned by Eryc Taylor Dance.