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Program notes

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for sinfonia

Ohanashi is the Japanese word for "story", or "tale" and is loosely based on a short story by the renowned turn-of-the-century Japanese writer, Soseki Natsume. The story comes from Soseki's book, Ten Nights of Dream, and is derived from the first part, or first "night" in this collection. The idea for the piece came about when a close friend told me the Soseki story. I was extremely moved by the beauty of her narrative and Soseki's gorgeous images. Ohanashi grew out of this initial listening experience, and in fact, I have never actually read the story, and have never wanted to. What I wanted came from the sound of the storyteller's voice, the pace of her retelling, her rhythm, and her words. The piece follows the basic shape of her story. This is almost like a tone poem, except that the narrative isn't necessarily relayed musically; rather, Soseki's images were used as starting points for colors and pacing. There is also a simple tape part in the piece, where the storyteller reveals snippets of her retelling. Ohanashi was commissioned and premiered at Alice Tully Hall on 3/25/97 by Dr. Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble, and is dedicated in loving friendship to Toshiko Oiwa.


1861, a hymn fantasia for concert band - view note
3 O’Clock Mix, for school ensemble - view note
Across the groaning continent, from Symphony No. 1, My Hands Are a City - view note
As the scent of spring rain..., for wind ensemble - view note
Avenue X, for wind band - view note
Blow It Up, Start Again, for orchestra - view note
Blow It Up, Start Again​, for wind ensemble - view note
Chunk, a funk for winds and percussion - view note
Climbing Parnassus, for wind ensemble - view note
Concertino, for flute solo, chamber winds, and piano - view note
De Profundis, for massed winds - view note
Deep Sky Blue, for viola and piano - view note
Dohyci, miniature for violin and bass clarinet - view note
Lullaby for Munch in Hell, for saxophone quartet - view note
Metropolitan, for orchestra - view note
Milori Blue, for euphonium and piano - view note
Moon by Night, for band and optional chorus - view note
Moon by Night​, Anthem for SATB chorus - view note
My Hands Are a City, from Symphony No. 1, My Hands Are a City - view note
Nocturnes, for piano solo - view note
OK Feel Good, for chamber group - view note
OK Feel Good​, for wind orchestra - view note
Practicing Joy, for percussion solo - view note
Prayers of Steel, for brass quintet - view note
Prelude on "Schmücke Dich", for organ solo - view note
Single, for wind band - view note
Sowing Useful Truths, for wind ensemble - view note
Stereo Action, for percussion ensemble - view note
Symphony No. 1, My Hands Are a City, for wind ensemble - view note
The Americans, from Symphony No. 1, My Hands Are a City - view note
The Rivers of Bowery, an overture for winds, brass, and percussion - view note
The Vinyl Six, for mixed chamber ensemble - view note
These Inflected Tentacles, for marimba, piano, violin, and cello - view note
Tree, for string orchestra - view note
Uncle Sid, fantasy on a folk tune - view note
Verses from Solomon, for soprano and organ - view note
Vivid Geography, for women's chorus and chamber orchestra - view note
Wapwallopen, string quartet no. 1 - view note