Once. Upon. A Time. 2017, 9′

for percussion sextet

written for Purchase Conservatory Percussion Ensemble


A large piece for a large space. Six players are arranged in Stations containing multiple instruments spread out around the playing space. The work is very performative in nature, and requires players to move around the space.

I. Once.

II. Upon.

III. A Time.

I. Once. starts with a single bowed vibraphone note that hangs in the air. Throughout the movement, each player strikes one thing one time before another player must hit something one time. Starting with slow isolated sounds coming from random stations, longer gestures, both pitched and rhythmic, are realized by continuously dividing the beat, and building and changing players within the sextet – always one note/strike per person.

II. Upon reduces to four the number of players, gathers them in the center of the space using a range of shakers/maracas to very quietly and sparely riff on the rhythm of the word “upon.”

III. A Time. is a joyous, driving rhythm romp: two excursions interrupt the unison theme requiring most of the players to take up hand-held instruments and boogey, cakewalk-style, across the playing space to a different station where they take up the driving theme again. The piece that opened with a single vaporous A from the vib ends (on A) with a long, suspenseful accelerando/crescendo to the max and beyond.

Available from Subito Music