Reflective Distortion

Reflective Distortion is written as a reminder of our individual impact on our environment. To depict this musically, I composed a single cantus firmus that is mirrored in the exact middle of the composition. This cantus firmus is divided canonically among the upper woodwinds throughout the work. As the line in the cantus firmus becomes more active and agitated in nature, so too does the surrounding, freely-composed music.

The musical characters move from simple and pastoral to aggressive and agitated. I wanted to craft a work which disrupts a sense of the pastoral in a rather violent way, much as our actions as humans often negatively impact nature. Though the composition ends in much the same way as the beginning, it is framed through the music which comes before. It is my intention this leaves the listener with a sense of deep loss.

For me, the canonic division of material represents a groupthink mentality that society has adopted in turning blind eyes to our environmental impact, and the surrounding music is a meditation on that sort of mentality.

Reflective Distortion was commissioned by Jonathan Brennand and the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra. It is warmly dedicated to Jonathan Brennand.

Reflective Distortion was a named finalist in the 2017 American Prize, and also was named honorable mention in the 2017 New York Youth Symphony First Music Composer Competition.