Ellipsis: a new ... piece for percussion ensemble

A couple of years ago while living in Houston, TX, I adjudicated a percussion ensemble contest at Westfield High School featuring all of the schoosl in the Spring Independent School District, hosted by Jason Hall. I witnessed an inspired middle school performance of my piece Mercury Rising. Jason and I started talking about a possible collaboration at that point and finally a year later it came to fruition. The six middle schools of the Spring ISD (Bailey Middle School, Bammel Middle School, Claughton Middle School, Dueitt Middle School, Twin Creeks Middle School, and Wells Middle School) commissioned me to write a 5-minute piece 7-8 players percussionists that had the same kind of energy as Mercury Rising. I just finished writing the resulting piece, Ellipsis, this past weekend.

Ellipsis: A mark or series of marks (...) that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word or a phrase from the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought.

The title is intentionally ambiguous (and honestly just a word that I like). One can glean whatever meaning they like from the piece itself.

Look inside the score

Listen to an electronically generated recording

To learn more about the piece (instrumentation, duration, difficulty level), go to the Ellipsis page.

Climbing out of the dark compositional abyss

Wow, that’s quite dramatic. It does actually feel like I’m emerging from cave or something and my eyes are still taking some time to adjust to the brightness. After experiencing a little more loss than someone should in the span of 4 months, I did fall into a 1-year compositional abyss in which I could not see to write a thing. Zero. Nada. Not a good thing when you have several commissions looming over you. As 2009 rolled around, I started a 365 Project that accomplished two things – helped me deal with the loss of my mother and got my writing again, if only little 1-minute arrangements of someone else’s melody. A series of original pieces and arrangements followed, but I still wasn’t in “that place.” That place where ideas flow seemingly out of nowhere. That place where composition & creativity is effortless and does not feel like work.

Since it was loss that set this void in motion, it’s not surprising at all that the addition of new surroundings/people to my life would help to guide me back out of it. All of a sudden, my mind was open and free and welcoming new ideas. On one of my early morning runs, I found the main theme for the first movement of my newest commissioned work, Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Ensemble. This movement, “Night’s Song,” will be premiered in November at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis. I went into a lot more detail about that one in the previous post.

Thank you for allowing me to drone on a while. All I can say is that I’m happy to be back in “that place,” as I have several more compositional obligations to fulfill over the coming months:

  • 8-10 minute work for Percussion Orchestra (10-12 players)
  • 5-7 minute work for Wind Symphony (Grade V)
  • 8-9 minute work for Keyboard Percussion Ensemble (Grade V-VI)
  • 4-5 minute work for Middle School Percussion Ensemble (7-8 players)

Should be a fruitful winter & spring!