Catalog of Works

ORIGINAL STRING ORCHESTRA WORKS
Hear something you’d like to perform with your group?  Email me and we’ll work something out!

Buccaneer Chanty
Buccaneer Chanty
3/4 time, E Dorian, level 1
This aggressively rhythmic piece imagines life on board a buccaneer ship.  Each section of the orchestra is featured playing the melody, and at the piece’s climax all sections participate in a rousing canon.  Second violin and viola parts are identical to help directors cover all parts when instrumentation may be lacking.

Canonic Suites 1-6 (no recording currently available)
Mixed time signatures, various modes, level .5
Canonic suites each consist of three canons of varying tempi and moods.  Designed for ensembles at the very beginning stages, these pieces use only the notes of the D major scale, though the mode may vary from movement to movement.  Only half, quarter, and eighth note pair rhythms are used.  I use these pieces in unison with my ensembles when they are just starting out, then as they progress we break into two and three part canons.

Celebration March
Celebration March

4/4 time, D major, level 1
A light-hearted march that will help your beginning orchestra sound sophisticated and confident!  Each section gets a chance to shine in this crowd-pleaser.

Creatures of the Deep


4/4 time, E Dorian, level 1.5
A double bass section feature, this piece allows your bassist/s to show their skills.  Using positions I-IV in the bass, the part sounds and looks harder than it really is, making your bass section look and sound great.  Perfect for beginning bassists who are comfortable in IV position as proscribed in several popular methods.  Scoring gives each section an interesting part while leaving lots of space for the basses to be heard in the texture.

Daybreak
Daybreak

2/2 and 3/2 time, G Lydian, level 1.5
This is a miniature tone poem depicting the changing colors in the sky at dawn.  I wrote this piece with the goal of drawing a lush, gorgeous sound out of my young string orchestras.  Long, dramatic phrases demand careful attention to bow distribution and counting a steady beat.

Funky Fiddles


strings only


with optional amplified bass and drums
YouTube link4/4 time, G Mixolydian, level 1.5
Combining fiddling and rock styles, this piece has proven to be a favorite with students and audiences alike. An infectious groove in the cellos and basses incorporating fingerboard slapping gives way to a sassy fiddling foray in the violas and violins, eventually combining in a funky mixolydian mashup.  This piece includes optional parts for drum set and amplified bass, to be used on occasions that call for a little extra “thump”.

Hero’s Quest
Hero’s Quest

6/8 time, B minor, level 3.5
Comissioned by the orchestra of Willink Middle School, this bombastic piece is a Hero’s musical journey.  It is reminiscent of a soundtrack to a Super/Space/Action/Adventure-Hero-type movie.  Exciting and dramatic, this piece is sure to thrill audiences.

Machinations
Machinations

4/4 time, E dorian, level 1
Machinations is a rhythm-driven piece that features extended techniques on string instruments including sul ponticello, col legno battuto, percussive tapping and slapping, and Bartok pizzicato.  The orchestra sections build up layers of rhythm and sound, with a rhythm canon forming the core of the piece.  Besides making the orchestra sound like a giant machine, the material is reminiscent of music from a spy movie, hence the name.

Monster Movie!
Monster Movie!

4/4 time, E dorian, level 2
This piece is the soundtrack to an imaginary monster movie, with all the requisite musical highlights – an action-packed chase sequence, a courageous hero’s theme, some terrifyingly suspenseful edge-of-your-seat moments, and a spectacular final conflict.

Moonlight Caravan
Moonlight Caravan

3/4 time, E dorian, level 1
Featuring the double basses presenting the lumbering primary melody, which is later joined in countermelody by a more graceful and serene-sounding theme in the violins.  All sections are given the opportunity to shine in this easy grade 1 piece.

Remembering Pluto
Remembering Pluto
3/4 time, F# Phrygian, level 1.5
Written as a wistful tribute to the former planet Pluto, having been recently demoted to dwarf planet status by the International Astronomical Union.  The cello section’s ethereal Phrygian mode theme representing Pluto is contrasted with a strident, unforgiving theme representing the IAU.

Summer Storm
Summer Storm
3/4 time,  E Dorian, level 1.5
A tempestuous articulative tour de force, using détaché, staccato, slurs, accents and pizzicato techniques to illustrate the different facets of a blustering thunderstorm.  The entire piece can be played without low second fingers in the violins and violas, but “low notes optional” passages offer advancing cellists, violists, and violinists the challenge of high three and extended fourth finger on the G string.

Tango Mysterioso
Tango Mysterioso
4/4 time, B Aeolian, level 1
A musically satisfying piece written with the technical limitations of beginning string students in mind, this piece captures the dramatic feeling of an authentic tango.  Contrasts in articulation and dynamics add to the drama and intrigue.

The Ugliest March Ever
The Ugliest March Ever
4/4 time, D major, level 1
This piece uses unexpected dissonances to comic effect.  Students, audiences, and colleagues have all expressed their affinity for this piece.  I foundThe Ugliest March Ever to be helpful in teaching beginning players the difference between consonant and dissonant harmonies.

Viola Rampage
Viola Rampage
4/4 time, E Dorian, level 2.5
A perennial favorite, this piece has received more performances in more schools than any other piece on this list.  Showcasing the viola section, this piece describes musically what might happen if the violas were to fight their way into the spotlight.  This piece is available from Kendor Music’s String Orchestra Catalog.

 

ARRANGEMENTS FOR STRING ORCHESTRA

O How Joyfully
O How Joyfully

4/4 time, D major, level 1
A bubbly arrangement of the Christmas Carol.  The cheerful melody introduced in the violins is followed by an original countermelody introduced by the cellos and basses.  By the end of the piece, each section is featured with either the melody, countermelody, or both.  A jubilant holiday selection!

Rally ‘Round the Flag (the Battle Cry of Freedom)
Rally ‘Round the Flag (the Battle Cry of Freedom)

4/4 time, D major, level 2
I arranged this patriotic Civil-War era tune for a flag day celebration (a longer version than the one included in the Flag Day Survival Kit).  It has a military feel to it, featuring the cellos with the main melody, and an optional 2nd cello part to harmonize (an optional viola part is included to harmonize with the cello melody if you wish your cellos to play non-divisi).

Flag Day Survival Kit for String Orchestra
America the Beautiful America the Beautiful
My Country ‘Tis of Thee My Country ‘Tis of Thee
The Star-Spangled Banner The Star-Spangled Banner
Grand Old Flag


various time signatures, D and G major, level 1.5
Make your orchestra part of your school’s Flag Day celebration!  Includes short arrangements of America, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, The Star-Spangled Banner, and Grand old Flag..  They are brief (able to be prepared in a few weeks after your spring concert) and appropriate for ceremonial use.  Some of the arrangements include high threes (for violins and violas) and extended fours (for cello) and there is one 1/2 position G# for the basses.  There are dotted eighth-sixteenth note patterns in The Star-Spangled banner, which I find are not difficult for children to learn quickly because they know how the tune goes already.   Rally ‘Round the Flag is the most difficult of the bunch, relying heavily on dotted eighth-sixteenth patterns.  Because Flag Day is at the end of the year, I find that my second-year students are ready for some of these challenges, and I really did try to limit these techniques to the absolute minimum needed to make the pieces authentic and successful.  This would be appropriate for a strong elementary orchestra or a middle school orchestra needing to quickly prepare patriotic music for a special event.