Listen Closely

Duration – 12′-13′

Written – 2019

for Violin and 2 Percussion

Influences – Andy Akiho, Natacha Diels, Xenia Gilbert, Tom Johnson, Andrew McIntosh, Erik Santos, and Sylvan Talavera


“Listen Closely” is scored for violin and 2 percussion and was written for and performed by Sylvan Talavera, Xenia St. Charles Gilbert, and Myself. The piece was jointly commissioned by Michigan Music Teachers Association and Music Teachers National Association in 2019 and was premiered on October 6th, 2019 in Lansing, MI. 

The piece is inspired by an array of ideas I had found myself contemplating after feeling lost with this commission. Ideas about ways of listening and their functions for the audience as juxtaposed with their functions for us as performers. While writing I found myself structuring the piece based on five distinct characters, each bound to a different way of listening that I loosely defined as having importance. Listening to harmonies and the notes as they literally present themselves, listening to the syntax of conversation and musical text, listening to the mathematical subdivision of rhythm, listening to the groove and subconscious performance of rhythm, and lastly listening to each other as performers and musicians. That being said I include somewhat of a catch for the audience. I wrote each section with the intention to make it particularly difficult to engage in the type of listening presented. Unusual registers, conversations on top of eachother, sporadic subdivisions, detached improvisation and chaos all act as challenges for both  the audience and the performers to, for lack of a better term, listen closely.