Composer

Recent selected works:

Pleiades (2013) for violin and electronic track; Zach Brock, violin



• Burn Rate
(2012) for piano and electronic track
• Sapphire (2010) for violin and electronics track
• Three Pieces for violin and piano (1998)
. Piece #2 (sample)
Program Notes:

Pleiades (2013) for solo violin and electronics
A by-product of being children of the cold war is being children of the space race. JFK's national goal of putting a man on the moon launched a new generation into science, technology, and industry who could imagine someday actually reaching the stars. As kids, there were many times when my little sister and I would squint through a backyard telescope trying to identify objects of the night sky. One of Susan's favorite to this day is Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, a star cluster in the constellation of Taurus, best seen in a frigid winter sky. (According to Greek mythology Orion the Hunter chases the Seven Sisters across the heavens.) So, last winter (2012) when Susan asked me to write a piece for her, I knew what the title would be.
The opening section of music was inspired by the idea of Pleiades--a distant cluster of arpeggiated chords sparkle quietly in the violin. The music then unfolds into six more sections: slow lyrical, moderate minimal, crashing, slow expressive, rock out, and backyard. The score uses both strictly notated sections
and improvised passages, designed for violinist, Zach Brock, one of the most gifted jazz improvisors I know who is also a highly trained classical musician.
Pleiades is about 10 minutes in duration and was commissioned by and is dedicated to my sister Susan Stahly-Koeneke.

Burn Rate (2012) for piano and electronic track
In Burn Rate the music ignites at a rapid tempo, expanding into a sort of honky-tonk on steroids. Its reckless licks and pops tear along until interrupted by a slower, serene state, finally giving way to more aggression and collapse.
Burn Rate was inspired by the use of the term (burn rate) in our present culture where it may have numerous meanings— the most popular these days relates to money and the rate at which corporations spend capital. Of course, they don’t really burn the money…..
The term can also relate to rocket motors and fuses, the time it literally takes to burn a certain amount of fuel from point a to point b. I got to thinking about this in the fall of 2011 as the Occupy Wall Street protests heated up in lower Manhattan, the 99%. I began to wonder about their burn rate...
The piece was commissioned by my friend Geoffrey Burleson to whom this work is dedicated. It’s great to work with a fabulous pianist.

Sapphire (2010) for live violin and electronic track
Sapphire for solo violin and electronics: In late October, 2009, I was sailing with friends from Block Island to Huntington, L.I. My trick at the helm was from 4 AM to 8 AM. A squall had gone through just after midnight. Even in rough seas, time slows down and the senses sharpen, taking in all kinds of detail that may otherwise go unnoticed. On this morning the sky went from pitch black with a million stars occasionally engulfed by ominous passing clouds, to a beautiful predawn sapphire. The unfolding light and experience of that morning inspired the opening of this piece.
Sapphire was written for and is dedicated to violinist Mary Rowell.