Ancel Neeley Composition Portfolio

Application to the Princeton University PHD Program in Music Composition

“Blossom” for Snare Drum and Vocoder

Blossom is a 10′ solo piece for snare drum and vocoder. The piece was premiered by Ajay Wadhwani at the University of Michigan in November 2021 and was commissioned by Tom Sherwood. The piece will see inclusion in the 2022 Atlanta Snare Drum Competition. I designed the vocoder sound with the built in vocoder synth plugin in Logic Pro X. The version of this piece that will be included in the upcoming competition will instead be designed using Max/MSP, scheduled to publish in March. The goal of the piece was to find a new voice for the snare drum that I felt was integral to my style and musical interests. This led me to the use of the vocoder as I am a synth player and take a lot of inspiration from various genres electronic music (synth pop, dubstep, EDM). In my discussions with Tom, we found it highly preferable to avoid the need for a click track. Using a vocoder was a perfect fit because it alleviated this need. As I continue to write more electroacoustic music, I plan to keep exploring the integration vocoder techniques as the opportunity arises.

See score below for Program Notes


“Fixate” for SATB Saxophone Quartet, Piano, Celesta, Vibraphone, and Xylophone

Fixate is a 7-8′ chamber work that was premiered by the University of Michigan Concert Band in April 2021 under the direction of Dr. Courtney Snyder. The piece was written in partnership with the Concert Band for their 2021 Winter Semester Chamber Composition Collaboration, which was created to aid in performance opportunities during COVID-19. The staging of the piece was also a consideration made due to COVID-19. That being said, programmatically I was able to use staging to evoke the idea of intrusive and obsessive thought patterns, something that the pandemic made abundantly present.

See score below for Performance, Program, and Staging Notes


“Reflective Surfaces” for Orchestra

Reflective Surfaces is a 7′ piece for Orchestra written in December 2021. The piece will see it’s premiere as a part of the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra New Music Concert in February 2022. This piece was heavily inspired by my work as an improviser as the structure is guided by aleatory in various sections of the ensemble. I employed a method of texture painting (also explored in Fixate) that I plan to continue polishing as I write more works for large ensembles.

See score below for Performance and Program Notes

Any and all supplemental material of interest may be found at this website in the drop down menu above. It should be noted that in order to navigate back to this specific page you must use the link in the Document Uploads portion of my Princeton application. This is to maintain privacy.

I am grateful for your time to hear and consider my work. Thank you and have a great day!