Venus & the Radio – August 8 @ Timucua

Venus & the Radio
Thursday, August 8 at the Timucua White House
2000 South Summerlin, Orlando, FL 32806.
Doors: 7pm. Concert: 7:30.
Tickets are $10.

While Orlando has begun to gain recognition for its arts community, not much has been said about the lines and boundaries drawn between artistic disciplines. When it comes to music and literature, The Central Florida Composers Forum, in collaboration with local literary publisher Burrow Press, aim to blur those boundaries and inspire future collaborations with their upcoming event, “Venus & the Radio.”

This one-of-a-kind event will feature two prominent Florida authors reading excerpts from their newest books (published by Burrow Press) in collaboration with four Orlando-based members of the Central Florida Composers Forum.

Orlando Poet Laureate Susan Lilley will perform Florida-inspired work from her collection Venus in Retrograde with accompaniment from composers Mark Piszczek and Timothy Stulman. Piszczek’s interactive approach will incorporate Lilley reading live with Piszczek on soprano saxophone and pre-recorded audio electronically manipulated by sound artist Jared Silvia. Stulman will do real-time audio processing of Lilley’s performance, combined with a pre-recorded audioscape.

Shane Hinton will perform excerpts from Radio Dark, a surreal post-apocalyptic novel set in Florida. Composers Holly Cordero and Charlie Griffin will provide an underscore in the manner of classic radio plays.

“This event is a great opportunity to not only illustrate the variety of talent in Orlando,” says Burrow Press publisher Ryan Rivas, “but also to acknowledge that art isn’t created in a vacuum. And especially to show how one art form can and does inspire others.”

A Q&A and book signing will follow the performance.  

5 composers to be selected for residencies with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras in 2019-20 – June 30 application deadline

Call for Applications


In partnership with Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras (FSYO), Central Florida Composers Forum invites current composer members (if you would like to join CF2, please indicate so at the end of the form you will fill out, linked below) to apply for one of five possible composer residencies with ensembles within the FSYO organization.

Residencies will take place during 2019-2020 concert season. Composers may apply for more than one residency, but will not be granted more than one. Each applicant composer agrees to at least three interactions with their ensemble (two preliminary sessions and one rehearsal) in addition to attending the premiere of the work they write. Rehearsals take place on Sundays, starting August 18th. Each composer will receive a small stipend for their residency, and each residency will have its own timeline.


The unifying theme for all the residencies is PULSE. We leave it to the composer to interpret that theme in any meaningful and appropriate way (musically, biologically, culturally, etc.).

Ensemble information

1. Symphonic Orchestra – (A new work 9-12+ minutes duration) $500 stipend. Season Finale Concert premiere on May 3rd, 2020; final parts and score deadline March 11th. This is their premiere orchestra. They play difficult music at a high level.

2. Philharmonia Orchestra – (A new work 4-10+ minutes duration) $500 stipend. Spring Concert premiere on March 8th, 2020; final parts and score deadline January 8th. This group is comprised of younger, less experienced players than the Symphonic Orchestra, but is still capable of rendering complex repertoire.

3. Jazz 1 Orchestra (17-20 players) – (A new work 4-6+ minutes duration) $500 stipend. Premiere TBD. Highly capable jazz band.

4. Prelude Orchestra – (A new work 4-6 minutes duration) $400 stipend. Spring Concert premiere on March 8th, 2020; final parts and score deadline January 8th. This is a beginner full orchestra (light on brass) that typically plays early classical repertoire, for example.

5. Overture Strings –  (A new work 3-4 minutes duration) $300 stipend. Season Opener Concert premiere on October 20th, 2019; final parts and score deadline September 13th. This is their entry level string group. Think of Suzuki book 2. You may consider a story telling component or involving one or two professional level adult musicians.

For more information on the ensembles, please visit:

Application Process

The entire application can be accomplished by following this link.

There, you will be asked the following questions:

  • Which ensemble are you applying to work with (First, Second, Third Choice)?
  • What does the residency ideally look like to you, and what role will you as the composer ideally play? If you have more than one choice for ensemble, would your answer change for each ensemble? If so, how?
  • How do you envision incorporating the theme of PULSE into the residency? If you have more than one choice for ensemble, would your answer change for each ensemble? If so, how?
  • If you envision involving a third-party local artist or organization, who would it be and why? (leave blank if N/A)

You will also be asked to supply a single MP3 (can be excerpts, up to 10MB*), a single PDF of a score sample, and a 100-200 word biography.

The deadline for the application to be submitted is June 30, 2019.

If you have any questions, please email or text me at 407.619.6715.

Incomplete submissions will be rejected. *If the file size of the submission exceeds 10MB, please email a Dropbox/Google Drive or equivalent link.

Guitarist Robert Phillips commissioned, recorded, and now presents 3 CF2 composers on May 17, 2019

Internationally noted classical guitarist Robert Phillips will be giving a concert of new music at the Timucua Arts Foundation White House on May 17 at 7:30 PM. The centerpiece of the concert will be a set of six dances written for Robert by Central Florida based composers. Those composers include Jorge Morel, CF2 members Benoit Glazer, Charles Griffin, and Troy Gifford, as well as Howard Buss, and Rex Willis. In addition, Phillips will play a set of Nocturnes composed for him by British composer John W. Powell.

Phillips recently recorded the pieces that comprise this program. The works are in dance rhythms ranging from waltzes to rumbas and incorporating elements of Afro-Cuban music, Flamenco, and Brazilian dance rhythms. They are to be performed as a set along with a prelude by Robert under the title of The Orange Blossom Dances. These important new works will be released by MSR Classics.

Robert has brought his brilliant interpretations to a diverse range of venues – from traditional concert halls including New York’s prestigious Town Hall, and Lincoln Center to jazz nightclubs. His performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall was sold out. In addition to the standard repertory, Robert performs his own compositions, and has premiered works by three-time Pulitzer nominee, Frank Brazinski, Eric Ross, Alfred Giusto, and Meyer Kupferman, as well as a concerto written for him by three-time Grammy winner, Michael Colina. The works by Kupferman and Colina were written for him.

Robert’s recordings include Guitarre Nouveau on TPL records and Lo Mestre, the Music of Miguel Llobet on Centaur records, as well as his self-re-released two volume set, Great Themes and Variations for Classic Guitar (originally released by Mel Bay as a companion to his anthology.) Robert also recently recorded several Spanish songs with Chinese coloratura soprano Shudong Braamse on her Global Music Awards Gold Medal winning album, Sueños De España (Navona Records).

Robert spent the summer of 2017 in Spain participating as a teacher, ensemble coach, and performer in the Chamber Art Madrid music festival. Phillips performed some of the newly commissioned works at this festival. He will be at the festival again in the summer of 2019.
The Timucua Arts Foundation is located at 2000 S Summerlin Ave. Orlando, Florida 32806. The concert begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here.

ReBlog: Orlando Philharmonic string quartet performs at Timucua White House


The best of Central Florida’s contemporary classical music was highlighted on Sunday evening with passion and style. The location: Benoit Glazer’s downtown Orlando home, also known as ‘Timucua White House,’ where leading avant-garde, jazz and contemporary classical music acts from around the country perform almost every weekend to small, though dedicated circles of followers who have helped turned the Glazer home auditorium into a shrine of sorts for this rather esoteric kind of performing arts scene.

But it need not always be that way, since the audience for new classical music in Orlando is on the rise — virtually every seat in the house was taken — and organizations that promote and foster this kind of music in the area certainly exist. The concert was presented by the Central Florida Composers Forum, and performed by the string quartet from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. With a program made solely of pieces by eight local composers, all in attendance, and the talented quartet from Orlando’s premier orchestra, this was truly a celebration of local talent unlike anything else done before.

Glazer’s piece The Eve of Evil — a dark, yet deeply touching foreboding of the war with the Middle East that followed the September 11 attacks — had the Cirque du Soleil musician join the quartet on trumpet. The augmented ensemble also featured his children Camille and Jean-Marie, on cello and viola, respectively, and wife Élaine Corriveau on piano. The composition includes dissonant passages intermingled with touching triadic bliss. The structure consists of repetition of the main segments, underlining the contrast between them. The composer employs jazz elements, fugal passages and a clear homage to Le Sacre du printemps, toward the end.

“There’s a bit of rock and roll, a bit of Bartók and a lot of chickens,” said Danny McIntyre of his Dance of the Fearless Chickens. The piece was an inviting change of mood, with clucking and rolling from a quartet that seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

Full Sail’s Keith Lay presented the still unborn about the dead, for soprano, piano and quartet. Lay’s composition finds beauty in a somber mood and succeeds exceedingly at that. Soprano Julie Batman helped to beat the time while carefully belting the words by Nichita Stanescu, with piano accompaniment by Jamila Tekalli.

Also from Full Sail, composer Tim Stulman introduced his piece Two Tigers, Two Mice and a Strawberry, a saxophone arrangement of which was performed a week prior by the all-saxophone h2 quartet. With his programmatic Tracks of the North Woods, Eric Brook sought to paint a musical picture of an outdoor scene, with thrills along the way.

One of the best pieces featured was Karen Van Duyne’s For Four Strings. The functional simplicity of the title belies the scope of the music and imagination of the lone female composer of the event. The exciting piece, influence by Elliot Carter, strays from conventional harmony and finds peace, order and beauty in an unusual sound world. Each of the four strings has a clearly defined line and plays a role along the piece, with the viola representing a kind of longing or searching for something elusive. It is frequently interrupted by the other instruments, though, and struggles to find serenity until the composition comes to a close.

Thad Anderson’s piece for quartet and electronics Through-Line provided another interesting change of pace. Anderson, from the University of Central Florida, started the pre-recorded track, to which the strings played for the duration of the piece. Flutist Nora Lee Garcia had a difficult part to fulfill, playing over the often loud and dense atmosphere of unison strings and the electronics track. The composer succeeds with this piece in coordinating dynamics and phrasing, to create a flowing soundscape between the acoustic instruments and the waxing and waning track that pulsates beneath them.

The closing piece, titled set fire to have light, brought out the naked acoustic force of the string quartet. As with most of the pieces of the evening, first violinist Rimma Bergeron-Langlois played the main melody line, supported by second violinist Alexander Stevens. Furtive glances from Stevens at the Orlando Philharmonic concertmaster kept the group in sync and tight throughout. On the low register, viola player Mauricio Céspedes and cellist David Bjella rounded off this excellent ensemble. Charles Griffin’s closing piece had them play forte unisons toward the end, closing the concert with an air of triumph.

The Timucua White House is a place like no other in the Central Florida area, and for local aficionados of contemporary art music, it is the place to be. The last few concerts have been captured on video, along with post-event interviews, for an upcoming documentary on Benoit Glazer’s legacy to the music community of Orlando, made possible by dedicated organizations like the Central Florida Composers Forum, The Civic Minded Five and the Accidental Music Festival.

It is unfortunate that this could only be a one-off event, given the potential that this amazing program had and the evident success, at least in terms of attendance and support for local talent. My hope is that this event will not go unnoticed by the well-established classical music organizations in Orlando, as well as by emerging ones; the way to the future is in the music of the present.


Sketch Art of CF2 White House Concert by Thomas Thorspecken

Thomas Thorspecken is an illustrator and journalist working in and around Orlando, and his blog has become an ongoing chronicle that really speaks to the character of the city amongst the non-tourists and natives. We were fortunate enough for him to sketch our concert at the White House, and here is the result. Do support this Orlando institution by visiting his website and considering buying a sketch. Many thanks, Thor!

CF2 premieres at the Orlando White House, April 29

Come hear a mixture of new music that runs the gamut from Big-band style jazz, contemporary art song, soaring solo piano music to a cutting edge electroacoustic post-minimal exploration of new science.

The Central Florida Composers Forum will premiere two new works on its April 29 concert at the White House in Orlando: local arts luminary and musical director of  La Nouba (Cirque du Soleil) Benoit Glazer‘s Suite Circassienne #6 for brass quintet and percussion quintet and Full Sail University’s Rebekah Todia‘s The Solitary for soprano and piano.

Also on the concert will be Rollins College professor of composition Daniel Crozier‘s Winter Aubade, for piano solo and Full Sail University’s Charles Griffin‘s Emergence, for flute quartet, prerecorded audio and video projection.

The composers will all be present and are joined by an impressive body of performers: Benoit Glazer & Mike Avila, trumpets; Kathy Thomas, horn; Jeff Thomas, trombone; Bob Carpenter, tuba; Jeff Moore, Matt Roberts, Wesley Strasser, Thad Anderson & Garth Steger, percussion; Julie Batman, Soprano; Heidi Louise Williams & Rebekah Todia, piano; Elsa Kate Nichols, Nicholas Buonanni, Adriane Hill, Anielka Silva, flutes; and you (Griffin’s piece includes the audience as performers).

The concert starts at 7PM. Admission is free, but it is the custom at the White House that attendees bring a beverage or snack to share before, during and after the concert. You are also highly encouraged to donate to the Central Florida Composers Forum via the Paypal Donate button in the right-hand column of this website.

The Program:
Daniel Crozier – Winter Aubade
Piano solo (2009), ca. 11’30”

Benoit Glazer – Suite Circassienne #6
Brass Quintet and Percussion Quintet (2011), ca 30’
In 8 movements:
I. The Town Square, Before the Show
II. Jambette
III. Flea Trapeze
IV. Le BarbierV. Circus Fanfarus
VI. Mara Tan Val
VII. Circa Circus
VIII. Yaygosstov

Charles Griffin – Emergence
Flute quartet, prerecorded audio and video projection (2010), ca. 28′
In 4 movements:
I. Swarms
II. The Brain
III. Artificial Intelligence
IV. Crowds

Rebekah Todia – The Solitary
Soprano and piano (2012)
Text by Madison Julius Cawein (1865 – 1914)

Program Notes:

Daniel Crozier – Winter Aubade

Winter Aubade was conceived with the special gifts of the pianist Heidi Louise Williams in mind.  It was an absolute joy to return to writing music for my most favorite instrument with the confidence that virtually anything that the music demanded would be possible. Winter Aubade continues to explore some of the principal concerns expressed in the orchestral works that immediately preceded it, namely the narrative power inherent in music itself apart from any concrete literary references or explicit programmatic ideas. These orchestral works might be described as “fairy-tale” music in a general sense, and that designation suits Winter Aubade as well. Like those pieces this work tells a story, of a “fantastic” sort, in the context of a variety of widely contrasted emotional states; however, unlike them, which all rely on several well-delineated themes that interact over the course of the pieces, this work achieves its dramatic arc through the musical examination of a single complex of ideas stated in turn at the very outset. These appear in a wide variety of juxtapositions and transformations that fashion the drama, or “plot,” of the piece. “Aubade” means “morning music” or in this case, perhaps more appropriately, “dawn music.”


Benoit Glazer – Suite Circassienne #6

The Town Square, Before the Show – The first movement is instruction based, and is meant to put you at the scene, before the show at the big top in the town square. It includes the musicians warming up, tuning up, and then try to reproduce the bustling feeling of anticipation in the streets surrounding the tent in the minutes before the spectacle commences.

Jambette – Jambette is the second movement. It is my response to the parade of characters at the top of the show, when you get to see some of the outlandish costumes and make-up that bring you into a world of wonder and magic. Jambette (croc-en-jambe in France) is an expression that means to trip someone. I have opened the show at La Nouba playing the trumpet in a parade, and I wear a mask for it that restricts my peripheral vision, and ten times a week I have this vision that a mischievous kid will extend his leg and trip me while I am playing this treacherous melody filled with octave jumps.

My melody is built on sixths, and the movement starts with percussion, to have the theme bounced between the trumpets and the trombone. Short and sweet, just like the parade it is supposed to portray.

Flea Trapeze – This is the most difficult movement for the percussion section, which holds the theme for most of the movement. Brisk and choppy at times, it settles into a fast two step feel eventually. Originally written with Bob Becker (of Nexus fame) in mind. Since Mr. Becker has the reputation of being the best xylophone player in the world, the xylophone part, as well as the other tuned percussion parts, is most challenging indeed.

Le Barbier – My first effort in writing an Adagio, I tried to orchestrate the piece in a way that would make the tuba part so that every note he plays is important, and adds weight to the sound. After the first exposition, the bowed gongs come in one at a time, and once all in, the brass come back in to recap the theme, with this new element to it, lending it a disturbing, hopefully very unsettling effect.

Circus Fanfarus – A good old fanfare and march. Here I tried to see if I could modulate a semitone below (and then back up), without the audience noticing it. Can you spot the modulation? The foreign element is carried by the percussion, in their feature about half way through.

Mara Tan Val – Originally written in 1999 for a demo where I played all the instruments, it is orchestrated for a very different ensemble here. Here is a mix of rhythm from North Africa, a waltz and a tango (all at the same time). Yet, it feels quite natural and has a simple song form, with a vibes solo in the middle. It is in 5/4 time, and so could probably not be danced as a tango, but it has the flavor and the longing of a tango, somehow.

Circa Circus – My tip of the hat to Nino Rotta and his work with Fellini. A very ironic sounding song, originally done for that aforementioned 1999 demo as an accordion piece. You will hear it very soon in an upcoming Banks Helfrich movie in version that is close to the original orchestration. It is the funeral theme in this somewhat Fellini inspired “death centered romantic comedy feeling” movie about a woman and the seven people who die in the story. Jambette also figures in that movie…

Yaygosstov – As a trumpet player, I am naturally drawn to certain orchestral repertoire, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is part of that. The finale movement was an exercise in writing these long, tonal phrases that still contain harmonic movement, with rich orchestration and this particular voice leading that makes Pictures, as well as many works from Copeland, Holst, and others, so appealing. A call and response piece, where many people get to be the caller.

The title is a completely misspelled Québecois slang expression that came to mind because I wanted to honor the predecessor to our present high wire artist at work. You see, Valery almost never misses his salto on the wire, but his predecessor did so… quite often. And in most cases, he would land, well, let’s just say that siring children may be impossible for him now.  Yet, he would stand up, turn around, and do it again, all with a grace and dignity that honored his classy costume, his proud Russian heritage, and his profession.

Watch for the ending, where I went a little outside of the normal French horn range (If anyone can do it, Kathy can), and where my youth participation in DCI drum corps creeps up at the finale.

Charles GriffinEmergence

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

 For the past 15 years, my reading of scientific literature has affected my worldview, brought me solace, and sparked my imagination. The job of science, as I see it, has always been twofold: to rationally peer behind the veil of reality and discover what is there, and also to imagine future possibilities. I find it fascinating how fantastical reality can actually be, and that so many connections exist amongst ourselves and with our world once we actually look.

The science of Emergence is the study of how complexity emerges from essentially simple component parts.

King Solomon urged us to look to the ants, “consider her ways and be wise; which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provides her meat in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.” Scientists and businesses now use Ant Colony Optimization algorithms and other Swarm Intelligence methods for problem solving. Bees, birds, fish and locusts follow essentially three simple rules of movement in groups, and it turns out, humans follow the same rules when walking in a crowded urban environment. The first movement is a structured improvisation for the flute quartet where they use swarming rules to create their music.


The human brain, with its modular structure weaved together by roughly 30 billion neurons electrically firing chemicals across synapses in synchronous waves that produce measurable electronic current up to 12 Hz, is the ultimate example of complexity. Understanding our brains is yet another way of understanding our own evolution as a species: at the deepest level is the emotionless reptilian brain stem, controlling our metabolic system and incapable of anything we would call thought; then comes the limbic system, from which comes our primary emotions and which we share with most other mammals, enabling us to form powerful bonds with each other and with them; stacked on top are the two hemispheres of the neocortex, from which we get abstract and analytical thought, language, and of course, art. As Steven Johnson says in his book Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, “ The more you learn about the brain, the more you understand how exquisitely crafted it is to record the unique contours of your own life in those unthinkably interconnected neurons and their firing patterns.”

For this movement I sampled a recording of a symphony by the Baroque composer William Boyce, which was used in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) study of how the brain organizes segmented events. The flute quartet part is largely based on rhythms borrowed from gamelan music, where multiple players create a complex interlocking structure based on simpler rhythmic units.


Researchers into artificial intelligence are using the human brain as a model of learning. While estimates vary of exactly when a completely new form of life will be created by us, inorganic but self-aware, I have no doubt that it is inevitable. And that will naturally force us to question the nature of existence and sentience, and given enough time, might even become a new pathway for human evolution. You can decide for yourself the moral or ethical implications. For this movement, I sampled/quoted two orchestral pieces: Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, in which the trumpet part asks “The Perennial Question of Existence,” and the Hymn section of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, “Veni Creator Spiritus.”


I decided to go a less serious route with the fourth movement, and create a piece that is somewhat spontaneously created by the flute quartet and the audience. I learned how to use Adobe After Effects to create an animated graphic score, where shapes or graphics of four colors, red, blue, green and yellow are each interpreted by a different flutist, and text or symbol cues are given to the audience to shout, sing or speak. After about a minute, an electronic score enters underneath, comprised mostly of prerecorded human speech and sounds.


Rebekah Todia – The Solitary

Upon the mossed rock by the spring
She sits, forgetful of her pail,
Lost in remote remembering
Of that which may no more avail.

Her thin, pale hair is dimly dressed
Above a brow lined deep with care,
The color of a leaf long pressed,
A faded leaf that once was fair.

You may not know her from the stone
So still she sits who does not stir,
Thinking of this one thing alone–
The love that never came to her.

The Solitary encompasses a women’s life whose love has never been discovered. Her unique perspective through self-reflection is expressed with pivotal moments, overwhelmed by contrasting feelings of rage and adoration. The Solitary integrates moods and emotions of considerable affection, agitation, and moments of despair. The Solitary is a dramatic art song that carries you off to the cloistered life of a women’s life that love has never found.



Orlando Philharmonic and Full Sail University present Keith Lay’s Four Dimensions, April 21

The Orlando Philharmonic, in partnership with Full Sail University will hold a concert gala fundraiser program entitled Symphony in HD at Full Sail Live, a state of the art venue in Winter Park, Florida. This performance represents an innovative intersection between classical music and technology.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012 AT 6:00 PM
Full Sail Live at Full Sail University • 141 University Park Drive, Winter Park
Dirk Meyer Conducts • Brian Smithers, Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) • Janette Zilioli, soprano • Michelle Mailhot, vocalist

Short works, extracted movements and other gems will fill the evening, including works  by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Duke Ellington, and Orlando’s own Stella Sung and Keith Lay.

Keith composed a new work, Four Dimensions, exclusively for this event (see below).

Program Notes by Keith Lay
Four Dimensions is an imaginary exploration of existence through music and image,  co-created by Visual Artist, Nathan Selikoff and me. The work begins with the Zero Dimension and evolves into the First, Second, Third (our universe of height, width and depth) and finally grows into the Fourth spatial dimension that we can only try to imagine. It is a single movement work lasting under seven minutes.

“Four Dimensions” music is composed for orchestra, an electronic wind instrument called an EWI and electronic sounds. The EWI is treated in this work as a regular woodwind in the orchestra and has several important solos. The electronic music was composed to be a new section of the orchestra –  playing a similar role as the winds, brass, strings and percussion do – by presenting new material, serving as an accompaniment, and adding timbral color. It employs both musical pitches and unpitched sounds that mix with the orchestra from many different directions: sometimes from behind you – or from the sides of the hall.  Maestro Dirk Meyer will be performing the electronics part from the podium with a Nintendo Wii-mote in his left hand while he conducts. This performance technology was created by my Full Sail colleague, Marc Pinsky for tonight’s concert.

The EWI, performed here by another Full Sail colleague and saxophonist, Brian Smithers, plays exactly like a woodwind instrument. But instead of a reed resonating an air column like a clarinet, the EWI electronically senses fingering, breath and mouthpiece pressure which control the tone, loudness and color of what comes out of its loudspeaker.

The work opens with the “Zero Dimension”. To be or not to be. In fact, the zero dimension really isn’t technically a dimension at all because it is dimensionless. In mathematics, we treat this as as a point that has no size, in physics it is a singularity, in logic it is true or false, on or off. An opening fortissimo chord from the brass represents this declaration of existence. The chord is restated in the electronics, then the woodwinds and then the strings over which the EWI appears with the main theme:

The opening elements: the eight note theme, the opening chords, the polytonal harmonic palette, the idea of moving back and forth between instrument sections of the orchestra and electronic sounds provide much of the developmental content throughout the entire work.

Singularities connect to form lines for the “First Dimension”, represented by a loud, bit-crunchy, electronic sounds emphasizing the tritone in the harmonic palette. Only direction exists in this imaginary universe.

In the Second Dimension, the lines from the First Dimension pair up and briefly connect to form planes. This is a primarily orchestral section featuring rapid EWI passages.  Intensity builds with an insistent triplet figure, reaching a climax which breaks into the “Third Dimension”.

The “Third Dimension” provides rhythmic relief with a soaring EWI solo over sustained, beautiful orchestral harmonies. We finally arrive at a quiet, stable point with the piano – repeating a closely voiced extended chord in D minor.

A loud interruption destroys this solace as a hole is torn in our dimensional fabric and we fall into the final “Fourth Dimension”. The 3rd dimension is visible within the 4th just as we in the 3rd dimension can see the 2nd. Here, the opening musical material from each dimension recapitulates and climbs to the final statement. At the close, the EWI and strings take the main theme, the woodwinds repeat the triplet figure from the Second Dimension, and large brass chords build to the final climax, ending with a loud, shaped noise.

Collide Festival features an evening of contemporary percussion works by CF2 composers, January 28 at UCF

On January 28, 2012 at 8:00 p.m, the Furman University Percussion Ensemble (Omar Carmenates, Director), UCF Percussion Ensemble (Thad Anderson, Director) and KnightWinds Ensemble (Dr. Nora Lee Garcia-Valazquez, Director) will come together to perform an array of works by Central Florida Composers.

Robert Raines – A Quickening (Concerto for Flutes and Percussion)
Christopher Marshall – Birds of a Feather
Thad Anderson – Lines: Withheld (percussion quartet for tuned metals)
Charles Griffin – The Persistence of Past Chemistries (percussion quartet: marimba,xylophone, log drums, cajon, caxxixxi, claves)
Charles Griffin – Twisting Magnetic Spins (percussion quartet: vibraphone, timpani, brake drums, gongs, cymbals, etc.)
Two UCF student composers works will be presented.


All events will take place in the UCF Rehearsal Hall Auditorium.
4000 Central Florida Blvd.

The program in detail:

Robert Raines: A quickening – Concerto for Flutes and Percussion
(1 piccolo, 6 flutes, 2 alto flutes, 2 bass flutes, (Optional: contra bass flute, sub-contra bass flute) assorted percussion, glockenspiel, crotales, and marimba); Dedicated to Eva Amsler, this piece was made possible by a Grant from the Brannen-Cooper Fund for New Music.

Composer’s notes: This piece illustrates my continued interest in exploring the sonic landscape created by a group of instruments from the same family, an effect heightened by the purity of tone produced by the family of flutes. I have expanded this palette by adding the warmth of the marimba and vivid percussion colors. Extremes of range, tone, texture, and tempo are explored: dense vertical clusters juxtaposed with more horizontal, kaleidoscopic/contrapuntal passages. I have strived to give each member of the ensemble its own voice and a chance to stand alone, while in other sections all of the players are meant to meld into one macro-instrument.

Those technical points aside, I strove to illustrate my personal feelings about the act of creation – music, literature, dance, the visual arts, all I believe share a common creative electricity. I have long been inspired by the following words from Martha Graham, and I kept this quote near while composing this piece. The title is inspired by her words:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy… a quickening… that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium but will be lost.

It’s not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. Whether you choose to take an art class, keep a journal, record your dreams, dance your story, or live each day from your own creative source, above all else, keep the channel open.–Martha Graham

Christopher Marshall: Birds Of A Feather
One of the discoveries I have made since moving to the United States is the poetry of Emily Dickinson. I encountered some of her poems by chance on the internet and found a great many of them stimulated an immediate musical response in me. So far I have set nine for choir and used those settings as the basis for suites of miniatures for various instrumental combinations. And there are so many more Dickinson poems I would like to use in this way.

The four avian themed miniatures that comprise Birds Of A Feather were taken from the longer wind ensemble work ‘An Emily Dickinson Suite’ and recomposed for the current ensemble with a dedication to Nora Lee García-Velásquez, George Weremchuk and Thad Anderson.

  • To Hear An Oriole Sing – The poet asks why birds sing. Do they consider their song beautiful or is it only beautiful to us? And what part does God play in all this?
  • I’m Nobody – No direct reference to a bird, though the two gossipy ‘nobodies’ could certainly be described as ‘birds of a feather’.
  • If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking – Our existence is validated only by our acts of kindness to others.
  • Hope Is The Thing With Feathers – I love this poem with its picture of hope as a resilient little bird that keeps singing no matter what life throws at it.

Thad Anderson: Withheld, a piece from my series called Lines, is a percussion quartet for tuned metals. My original intention was to have it performed with tuned pipes, but it could also be performed with an assortment of tuned metals (crotales, glock, vibraphone, chimes, celeste, bell plates, muted gongs, etc…). It was composed with the pipe pitches used for David Lang’s second movement of The So-Called Laws of Nature in mind. The Lines pieces are based on a series of rhythmic “duration lines,” which are used to create both structure and polyrhythmic interest.

Charles Griffin: The Persistence of Past Chemistries
One of the ways that Professor Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachussets defines life in her book What is Life?, is as “patterns of chemical conservation in a universe tending toward heat loss and disintegration. . . . Death is part of life because even dying matter, once it reproduces, rescues complex chemical systems and budding dissipative structures from thermodynamic equilibrium. . . . Preserving the past, making a difference between past and present, life binds time, expanding complexity and creating new problems for itself.”I hit upon the title for this piece after I had already decided to restrict the sonic palette exclusively to instruments made of wood, a way to acknowledge this uniquely human reconstitution of organic matter. Not only do the instruments give the trees from which they came new life, but the musicians also bring new life to their instruments. Furthermore, my music tends to be the sum of sometimes disparate parts that take on new life through their integration; jazz, latino, and minimalist music all coexist in The Persistence of Past Chemistries.

Charles Griffin: Twisting Magnetic Spins was commissioned by the University of North Texas for Mark Ford, the director of percussion studies there. Ever since I wrote The Persistence of Past Chemistries for Ethos Percussion Group several years before, where I restricted the sonic palette to instruments primarily made from wood or organic materials, I wanted to write another piece with the same restriction, but this time with metals. The main solos are taken by the vibraphone and the timpani, but perhaps the bigger challenge for the ensemble is the necessity for the accompanying metallophones to play very softly part of the time. After the premiere, this piece was featured by ASU’s percussion ensemble (J.B. Smith, director) at the 2006 PASIC conference in Austin, Texas as part of the New Ensemble Literature session.

Dan Crozier’s Capriccio performed by Orlando Philharmonic on January 14

On Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 8:00 PM, the Orlando Philharmonic (Christopher Wilkins, conductor, with guest pianist William Wolfram) will present a concert program at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, that includes CF2 member Dan Crozier‘s Capriccio.

Also on the program will be:
Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis; and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.

American pianist William Wolfram was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions, and a bronze medalist at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. A versatile recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, he has won the respect of musicians and critics across the country and abroad. Wolfram has several recordings on the Naxos label, has played recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe, and has performed with dozens of the finest orchestras in the world.


Daniel Crozier (b. 1965) – Capriccio
The orchestral piece, Capriccio, is very much in keeping with my recent compositional exploration of the narrative, story-telling power of music. It was a strong interest in opera that led my purely instrumental music in this direction. The music of the great operatic literature, it seems, reaches well beyond the function of simply enhancing a drama on stage. Our perception is that this music somehow “becomes” the story that it tells, effectively taking it over, and expressing what happens on the stage in its own terms with a heightened sense of dramatic sweep and a good deal of emotional specificity. It is the music that essentially controls our experience as we are drawn into the dramatic world of a fine opera.

While it may be a bit problematic to speak of abstract orchestral music in such terms, music that exists apart from any explicit program or extra-musical reference does, I believe, have the capacity to carry on an independent narrative of its own sort, expressed using its own particular kind of syntax. In this spirit, Capriccio strives to create what might be called virtual, rather than concrete, narrative. We might even refer to it, after Mendelssohn, as an “opera scene without words,” in this case a largely comic scene, whose personae appear as musical ideas. As in other forms of drama, interest comes as a result of the way these characters relate to one another in the context of an overall plot, the way they may be transformed by the sometimes intense nature of their interaction, and the larger intensity curve that emerges as part of the process. The piece is concerned with three principal thematic ideas, which, as its title implies, establish a virtuosic atmosphere of bustling, and sometimes dancing, good-humor, not without a little suspense along the way.

The scurrying, opening idea highlights the woodwinds in its first appearance. The second is a tension building perpetual motion that precipitates the first climax. The appearance of the third idea heralds the beginning of the piece’s central episode, or “trio” section. Here the mood relaxes in a kind of swung dance for the two bassoons that is periodically interrupted by rude, mocking clarinets. The dance and the mocking figures vie for position over the course of this section in a competition that eventually lands the music in a tutti. After the trio closes it is the second idea, the perpetual motion, which returns, now quiet and mysterious in the upper register of the orchestra. This idea builds very gradually, and is developed and expanded over a longer period of time and with more intensity and athleticism than it had been earlier. The climax that it had been able to achieve during its first appearance is dwarfed by one a good deal larger here, that now coincides with the fist idea’s triumphant return. After a coda that builds quickly to yet one more culmination, the two bassoons make a failed attempt to resume their dance, summarily cut off by a final, brief reference to the piece’s opening gesture.