The Quest, one of my original compositions for wind ensemble, will be performed on April 15th in a concert by the University of North Florida Wind Symphony. This work was commissioned by Dr. Gordon Brock for a 2011 premiere at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that featured Bunky Green, legendary alto saxophonist and former UNF Director of Jazz Studies. This upcoming performance of The Quest will feature Todd DelGiudice, alto saxophonist and UNF Professor, as Dr. Gordon Brock celebrates his final performance with the UNF Wind Symphony before retiring at the end of this semester.
The University of North Florida Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. Gordon Brock, will perform my composition Peña Amaya on it’s upcoming concert on November 21.
This piece evokes memories of an afternoon hike along the mountain trails of Peña Amaya, which is located in the province of Burgos in northern Spain. After learning of the historical significance of this landmark, with all of its ancient and medieval ruins, and after hearing a work from the Codex Las Huelgas, a medieval manuscript of Gregorian chants with origins in the region, I was inspired to compose this piece.
The opening motif, an ascending tetrachord consisting of the pitches C-Db-Eb-F, is the basis for much of the melodic content throughout this work. Initially presented in the flutes and glockenspiel, the cell is then passed between soprano saxophone, oboe, and woodwind choir. The steady and deliberate hike up Peña Amaya is represented by the slower-moving ascending gesture that follows. Upon reaching a plateau, we take in the ruins of a castle and medieval fortress. Here, members of the ensemble, mostly the woodwinds and percussion, are presented in a highly polyphonic texture and in a more spontaneous manner — aleatoric notation is given to these instruments. After resuming our trek up the mountain and after the trails begin winding dangerously close to the cliffs, we arrive at the summit where we are greeted with a spectacular view of the entire region.