I am a composer and musician based in Glasgow, Scotland. Born in Central Kentucky, I studied music at Guilford College in North Carolina and spent a large chunk of the 1990s touring in bands. Around the turn of the century, I moved to Glasgow, Scotland to study composition with Bill Sweeney. Since then I have gained a PHD in composition and have taught numerous music subjects at the University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I write music for a variety of instrumental and electronic forces.
P r o j e c t s
Claude Debussy In Memoriam
A New Piece of Music! I have written a piece for Debussy at the centenary of his death, to be premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chamber Group at the Claude Debussy In Memoriam concert at the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel on 22 March, 2018, along with a number of pieces by fellow contemporary composers.
The impetus for the concert is to present contemporary works inspired by one of Debussy's most tantalizing might-have-beens, the incomplete Sonates pour six divers instruments, of which he only finished the sonatas for flute, viola and harp; cello and piano, and violin and piano. Works in the 22 March concert are written for the remaining ensembles of that unfinished collection: a trio of oboe, horn and harpsichord, and a quartet of clarinet, basson, trumpet and piano. My piece, entitled Suite for Claude Debussy in Memoriam, is for the entire twelve-player ensemble.
Here's the score:
Debussy's own sonatas from the incomplete collection, for flute, viola and harp; cello and piano; and violin and piano, will also be performed at the concert.
For the last three years, I have been developing a composition workbook using my composition students at the University of Glasgow as guinea pigs. This is the 2016-2017 version, although I am currently working on a new one to be published here hopefully before October 2017.
In the workbook, I include a letter to the students, included below. This outlines what is for me the hardest part of teaching composition in higher education: how do you teach something that has no ultimate ethical boundaries? The question of what is right or wrong, materially, well, that cuts to the nature of my concerns for most of my young undergraduates. That is, that they think for themselves, and are uncompromising, but not in a way that is reactionary or ignorant, but in a way that stems from a need, as Cage put it, for poetry?
Harmony Nerd Blog: The Nontransposeable Series
Check out my blog post on the Nontransposeable Series in which I explore all the circular, patterned divisions of our old friend IC5 - the circle of 4ths.