They Eat Trees - thumbnail.png
They Eat Trees - thumbnail.png

THEY EAT TREES (String Quartet)


Program Note:

They Eat Trees is a synthesis of microtonal Romanticism and the wild energy of free jazz. There are two distinct worlds in the piece that are developed and transformed in a quasi sonata form before being subsumed by the coda.

The title is taken from the Mohawk Indian word ratirontaks (“those who eat trees” or “wood eaters”). It is the name the Mohawks gave to the Algonquin tribe who resided in the mountains we now call the Adirondacks. These incredible mountains are an abiding inspiration. 


MECHANIZMO (Marimba and Piano)


Program Note:

Mechanizmo is a sonata for marimba and piano, percussive doppelgängers, and in this piece, a composite keyboard of terrific range and virtuosity. I wanted to explore the technical and timbral qualities of this incredibly complex mechanism, whereby one instrument hammers strings while the other strikes wood. 

I am fascinated by the drama inherent in sonata form, the sense of conflict between two distinct musical ideas acting on each other, and the journey of increasing tension through which they are ultimately changed. Rather than relying on tonality in the traditional sense, I utilized contrasts of material, style, and musical parameters like density and duration to enact the dialectical struggle. The narrative of the piece has to do with entropy, like a Tinguely sculpture, or Max Dean's 'Robotic Chair',  which puts itself together, destructs and then reassembles. Except in this case, because it's a sonata, the final assemblage is different than the original; it's been transformed by the process.

  • 11:28
    Steven White (marimba), Michael James Smith (piano)
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Noah Kaplan + So Percussion. November 10, 2015.
Noah Kaplan: Saxophone
Josh Quillen: Steel Pans
Adam Sliwinksi: Piano
Eric Cha-Beach: Vibraphone
Jason Treuting: Drum Set

Video by Evan Chapman

Audio only:

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Diptych thumbnail.png

DIPTYCH (Countertenor, 2 Tenors, Baritone, Bass)


2 Tenors

Text by William Shakespeare, from Richard II

I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
My scepter for a palmer's walking staff,
My subjects for a pair of carved saints
And my large kingdom for a little grave.

Text by Hampton Fancher

No life without time
No time without life
No life without death
No death without time
Order in the court the monkey wants to speak
Eemph ayemph gimmie a piece of pie
Ayemph ohmph don't be so slow
A mighty mummer is our Lord
And words are the turds of the soul


  • 3:45
  • 4:06
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Saxophone Quartet_Thumbnail.png



I. The Canyon
II. Clavilux
III. Fragment
IV. Membra