Dreams Interrupted

for chamber orchestra or large chamber ensemble (2005)

(duration ca. 12 minutes)

In five movements played without pause.

     I. Wide Awake

    II. Sweet Dreams

    III. Sleepwalking

    IV. Whole Lotta Wakin' Goin' On

     V. Lullaby

Performance History:

    • South Shore Opera of Chicago (2015)

    • South Bend Symphony Orchestra (2012)

    • Louisville Symphony Orchestra (2009)

    • Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2008)

    • Alabama Symphony Orchestra (2008 & 2011)

    • Baltimore Chamber Orchestra (2007)

    • Ohio University, M. L. King Day Event (2007)

    • Duluth Symphony Orchestra (2006)

    • Duquesne New Music Ensemble (2006)

    • Ohio University New Music Ensemble (2005)

    • Imagine Festival, University of Memphis (2005)

Three conductors have given repeat performances: Leslie Dunner, Markand Thakar, and Steven Huang.

Links to perusal/study scores:

new version    • original version

Click on “contact” below to inquire about parts

program note:

The commission for a premiere in Memphis, Tennessee, offered me a good excuse to search for inspiration in the city's rich musical and cultural heritage, which includes W. C. Handy and the vibrant Beale Street blues tradition, the seminal Sun studio recordings, Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, and much more.  Before long, I was drowning in a sea of "inspiration," but getting nowhere on the actual composition -- until I visited the city a few months before the premiere.  Too early each morning, a loud alarm went off in the hotel room adjacent to mine and kept up its obnoxious, rhythmic bleating for a solid hour or more.  Somewhere in the haze of extreme sleep deprivation and frequently interrupted dreams, I found the narrative for my personal and idiosyncratic tribute to Memphis and to the memory of Dr. King.

The composition has five programmatically titled movements performed without pause: Wide Awake!, Sweet Dreams, Sleepwalking,  Whole Lotta Wakin' Goin' On, and Lullaby. For contributions to the accompanying soundtrack, I am indebted to Mark Snyder and Scott Hinds for Memphis source recordings and to Sylvester Young, Jack Wright, Esther Rose Wilen, Richard Syracuse, and members of the commissioning group, including conductor Kamran Ince, who represent a remarkable diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Instrumentation: (newer version)

for larger chamber ensemble or chamber orchestra

1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Bb Clarinet, 1 Bassoon,

1 Saxophone (doubling tenor & baritone)

1 Bb trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Tuba

2 Percussionists, 1 Piano

Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Instrumentation: (original)

1 Flute, 1 Bb Clarinet,

1 Saxophone (doubling tenor & baritone)

1 Bb trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Tuba

2 Percussionists, 1 Piano

Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass