for wind quintet

Duration: ca. 8'

Composed for District5 (Laura Kaufman Mowry, flute; Alison Lowell, oboe; Zack Gauvain, clarinet; Laura Crook Brisson, horn; and Eddie Rumzis, bassoon)

Awarded Honorable Mention in the 2018 Tribeca New Music Young Composer Competition Division 2


Before I set out to write my first wind quintet, a few of my colleagues cautioned me that the five instruments could not truly achieve a blend in the way that the instruments in a brass quintet or a string quartet can. However, I saw this quality of the ensemble not as a drawback but as an opportunity to write a piece that would allow each instrument to maintain its distinct, unique personality while also exploring some of the interesting timbral combinations available. With these two goals in mind, I set out to write Tides Under a Full Moon (2017).

The work is constructed of a series of closely-related impressions and meditations inspired by my experience watching the full moon rise over the ocean in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Each instrument is featured in a solo or duet and a statement of the theme that recurs throughout the piece, ornamented like rippling water and rising towards the climax like the moon in the sky. Tides Under a Full Moon is also influenced by my studies of North Indian Hindustani music and the concept of rāga as experienced through my practice of the Indian harmonium, though the result does not resemble actual Indian music. The piece’s slowly unfurling, quasi-improvised melodies; ornamentation; drones; and reedy, nasal imitations of the timbre of the harmonium are all evidence of Hindustani music’s impact on my compositional style.

At its core, Tides Under a Full Moon is a work of self-reflection in the face of great life changes and of the search for peace with the backdrop of the night sky.