Three for One for full orchestra (2016)
3333/4331/timp./3 perc./pno./hp./strings

Duration c. 12 minutes Comissioned by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Premiered by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, November 26, 2016, Taft Theater, Cincinnati, OH, Louis Langrée – conductor.
Perusal recording available upon request

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Program Notes

Three for One is a collection of three character sketches composed especially for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to be premiered on their “One City/One Symphony” concert in November of 2016.

Each of the movements center around or emanate from a specific orchestral choir: the woodwinds in movement I, strings in movement II, and brass (especially horn) in movement III. While each movement inhabits a consistent and distinct expressive space – the first giddy and strident, the second meditative and elegiac, the third bright and propulsive – they all emanate from the same harmonic source/game, which is to explore the variety of ways in which notes can be added to the interval of a perfect fifth to form a spectrum of harmonies ranging from dark to light.

Each of the movements bear titles that give clues into how they are put together and/or play out in time. In “starting over,” a manically optimistic yet conflicted figure in the woodwinds feigns forward motion before stopping abruptly, repeating the process a total of three times, each time advancing further towards some sort of resolution. “presence/absence” is essentially a four-voice chorale in which the chords in the strings build and dissipate one note at a time, much like the steady ebb and flow of a wave. “twitter” simply refers to the constant propulsive 16th note energy that pervades the last movement, particularly when it ascends into the higher register of the woodwinds. The second movement in particular (presence/absence) is dedicated to Richard Toensing, an important teacher, mentor and friend who passed away two years before this piece was composed.

Three for One was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, thanks to the generous support of Anne Lawrence and Tad Lawrence.


“The work was attractive, well-crafted and consistently inventive. The audience approved with a standing ovation.” – Cincinnati Enquirer