Current Commissions

Music for Bayside : A woodwind quintet for the Quintet of the Americas

I Have No Stories to Tell You : A 30-minute chamber opera for Gotham Chamber Opera. The work will be presented as a companion piece to Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and will premiere at the Met Museum in February 2014.

A large chamber piece for a consortium comprising Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, the University of Michigan and Oberlin Conservatory.

A 20-minute work for choir and small instrumental ensemble for Mark Shapiro and Cantori New York. The piece will be based on the utopian visions of the early 19th Century French philosopher Charles Fourier.

Residency with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group

I am in the second year of a three-year term as composer-in-residence with these three wonderful opera companies. Here are some of the projects I have worked on as I develop my craft as an opera composer.

1. Two Scenes - Spring 2012
I worked with librettists Mark Campbell and Chad Jenkins to create and workshop two ten-minute scenes during the spring of 2011. Mark Campbell wrote a wonderful, dark and playful scene based on the opening chapter of Bulgokov's novella A Dog's Heart and Chad Jenkins adapted a chapter of his own novella into a moving scene about aging, memory and alzheimer's disease called The Little Things. These were workshopped by the amazing singers of the Curtis Institute of Music opera program.

2. Ikea Random Act
I arranged the famous Papageno-Papagena duet from A Magic Flute for found instruments and led by Michael Bolton, vice president of community programs at Opera Philadelphia, a team of intrepid singers and percussionists and singers performed the arrangement at the Philadelphia IKEA store as a random act of culture. A good number of people watched it on youtube and most importantly, it won a Philadelphia Geek Award!

3. Tapestry New Opera LibLab
Opera Philadelphia sponsored my attendance at the Tapestry New Opera Libretto Laboratory in August 2012 where I wrote and workshopped four scenes with gifted librettists over the course of an intensive 10-day session. The atmosphere at the workshop was supportive and invigorating and the workshop allowed me to meet several librettists with whom I am sure I will continue to work for many years.

4. Da Ponte Scenes Project
I re-wrote several scenes from Mozart/Da Ponte's Don Giovanni for a small period instrument ensemble. The scenes were workshopped during March of 2013. The goal of the workshop was to try out different ways of setting recitative (I set sections of the text in as many as four different ways) and to experiment with writing for period instruments.

Project Pieces

Pieces that are experimental, not quite completed or need to be revised or revisited:

Flute, Violin, Clarinet, Bassoon "Finger Painting" (2011)
Brass Quintet: "Lost and Found" (2011)
Violin and Double Bass: "Minuet and Barn Dance" (2010)
Viola and Clarinet: "Sarabande" (2010)
Flute and Cello: "Twitch" (2010)
Wind Quintet: "Uneasy Tides" (2007)
Solo Percussion and Orchestra "Faded, Manic, Black and White" (2007)

And Then I Remember

And Then I Remember is 50-minute long documentary oratorio based on the World War II stories of Taimi Lepasaar, my grandmother. At the core of the piece is recorded audio taken from a series of interviews with Taimi. In retelling this story of one woman's struggle to survive and protect her children during World War II, And Then I Remember explores the poetic aspects of memory and the strange relationship of storytelling to a sense of truth. It was premiered in March 2009 at the Duderstadt Video Studio at the University of Michigan.

And Then I Remember won the 2010 Opera Vista Competition and was performed in Houston in March, 2011 and in New York City in January of 2012.

An Exciting Event

I play concertina and other instruments, sing and puppeteer occaisonally with An Exciting Event.


Ongoing and Experimental Projects