Hold/Let Go (2015)


Hold/Let Go is a work in two movements:

I. Hold

The act of "holding" essentially implies a kind of persistence and lack of change. In a similar vein, nearly all of the musical material for Hold has been derived from the opening piano figure: three oscillating notes that change one note at a time. This figure is taken through different key areas, instrument combinations, and moods. As if always being held on to, the figure remains constantly present, sometimes in an obvious way and other times in a more hidden way. The effect is analogous to that of moving while simultaneously remaining unchanged in one place.

II. Let Go

The second movement was commissioned by the Hot Air Music Festival and is a kind of theme and variations. In each variation, some element of the theme has been "let go," or freed in some way. In some places, that means freed from the theme's organizational structure and syntax. Instruments are also freed from meter, and then finally freed from traditional notation as elements of improvisation are progressively introduced. The title also reflects my own attitude towards composing the piece, as I used aleatoric techniques and improvisation as a way to "let go" of the traditional idea of composing. However, there are some things that can never be entirely freed and so they remain throughout.

Movements may be performed separately.


Flute, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Percussion


ca. 17 minutes


August 2, 2015

Hold performed by the AMF Contemporary Ensemble at Atlantic Music Festival, Lorimer Chapel, Colby College, Waterville, Maine

Hannah Porter Occena – flute, Shawn Earle – clarinet/bass clarinet, Jacobo Hernandez – violin, Alexandra Jones – cello, Nicoletta Favari – piano, Chris Salvito – percussion

May 10, 2015

Hold/Let Go performed at Julie Barwick's Graduate Recital, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Sol Joseph Recital Hall

Tyler Catlin – conductor, Jessie Nucho – flute, Diane Lee – clarinet/bass clarinet, Marian Yang – violin, Helen Newby – cello, Collin Whitfield – piano, Stephanie Webster – percussion

World premiere of Hold

March 15, 2015

Let Go performed at Hot Air Music Festival, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Caroline H. Hume

Tyler Catlin – conductor, Jessie Nucho – flute, Gordon Daole-Wellman – clarinet, Marian Yang – violin, Sarah Lee – viola, Bridget Pasker – cello, Collin Whitfield – piano, Stephanie Webster – percussion

World premiere of Let Go