half murmur (2017/18)

half murmur was written for the Talea Ensemble for the TIME:SPANS Festival/Earle Brown Music Foundation International Summer Academy, and later revised for performance by the Center for New Music at the Univesity of Iowa. The final instrumentation is for 14 players: b fl, cb clarinet, cbsn, hn, tbn, 2 perc, piano, hp, vln I, vln II, vla, vc, cb). 


half murmur is constructed through loosely structured rules. Performers alternate between several layers throughout the piece: a foundation made of low and noisy sounds, duets/quartets that happen as a result of conditional relationships between performers (requiring a specific visual or aural connection), solos that are limited in frequency, and silence (a state of listening or waiting).  

Some elements (the constancy and balance of the foundational layer, and the tam-tam player’s control over sound and silence) are planned with a degree of certainty, but there is a great amount of leeway in considering the possible outcomes of a performance of half murmur; I am most interested in experiencing the “unpredictable” and “unknown” within the context of the expected.

Premiered by the Talea Ensemble, DiMenna Center for Classical Music:

Revised version performed by the University of Iowa Center for New Music:

Performed by Density512 in their Musik in Nebel (Fog Music) concert: