Nocturne, for orchestra (2011)

Duration: 10:00 minutes

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 B-flat clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 B-flat trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (at least 2 players), piano, harp, strings 

Premiere: February 27, 2012 by the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky


     My Nocturne was originally inspired by Joan Miro’s 1940 painting of the same name. I was first drawn to the pure visual appeal of Miro’s fantastical figures and swirling lines, but I was also intrigued by the idea of a “nocturne” with so much energy and whimsy. As I thought about the tension between the title and the image, the other approaches to the nocturne came to my mind – from the Whistler paintings and the dreamy world of Chopin and Field that inspired him, to the colorful and diverse Debussy pieces, to the creaking and sliding “night music” of Bartok. In the end, my piece is about the different connotations of the title as much as it is about an imagined nocturnal scene.  

      Nocturne is in three large sections. The opening evokes a hazy world, with allusions to familiar nocturnal imagery floating in and out of focus. The middle section is a wild scherzo inspired by Miro’s bizarre nocturne. At the end, the music from the opening section returns, with a brief nod to Chopin before the music evaporates to nothing. 

    The original version of this piece was scored for flute, violin and piano, written in 2010. The version for orchestra was completed almost a year later.