Somewhere Here in This World

Somewhere Here in This World is a music ceremony created by 30 percussionists, each with a pair of wooden claves, in a large circle surrounding an audience. Individual sounds ricochet around the performance space in conversation with each other and other ambient noises

This piece will be premiered at Make Music New York in June 2013 by an ensemble led by Joe Bergen.

The Collector

The collector is a one-act opera about a man who re-kindles his childhood hobby of stamp collecting and discovers that his infatuation has different consequences as an adult.

This opera was premiered at Experiments in Opera’s New Shorts at Issue Project Room on February 9, 2013.

Dioramas for Prepared Vibraphone

for solo prepared Vibraphone (2012 – )

Remember those shoebox dioramas we made in Elementary School?  Those quaint handmade relics of a pre-digital world?  I always found them inspiring–a chance to imagine a complete world with limited resources.

This collection of works emerged from my continued interest in mallet percussion, and embracing a wider timbral territory.  I have always been fond of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, and this piece owes a dept of inspiration to Cage’s fierce vision as expressed in that piece.

There are currently two Dioramas, with plans to add as many as eight more for a full collection of 10.

 

 

The Man Who Dreamt in Rubato

For four timpanists and pipe organ (2012)

The dreams we imagine during the waking hours are alternately quaint, inspiring, ambitious and sometimes silly. I rely on my daydreams to provide a blueprint of possibilities, and yet, time spent with my head elsewhere is time I might have spent living more firmly in reality.  The Man Who Dreams in Rubato is a portrait of my experience with the pros and cons of daydreams.

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The Light Come Down

for four vibraphonists and SSA choir (2012)

I first encountered the music of Bascom Lamar Lunsford on the Smithsonian Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music. I was blown away by the power of his vocal phrasing and banjo picking. There is something mysterious about his music that can’t be put into words—it’s simple and straightforward, yet elusive. The Light Come Down is my homage to Mr. Lunsford and the rarity of his inspiration. It is also a tribute to the musicians of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, who shine wherever they go.
The Light Come Down is inspired by shape note singing and should be sung using a bright and nasally sound. The first half of the piece is meant to have a hymn-like quality while the second half of the piece is highly rhythmic and energetic.

I Would Write

I am always excited by enabling constraints and find that I come up with things I would never have discovered unless I was prompted to do so.  In that vain, here is a second script I wrote for the English National Opera Mini-Operas contest.
This script is meant to be a duet in letters between a Man and a Woman.  It is inspired by a story seed by A.L. Kennedy.


I Would Write

MAN
If I could write to
you of everything I would,
list all of the small thrills
(years from now they will be even moreso)
of someone else in my arms, no,
in front of me, where I can drink
for my memory.
I would show you that the
water is only shin-deep and
impossible to drown in, that
we could probably swim for
ages in front of others without
encountering a shred of shame
and from the shore we would
just be having a splash.
I would draw in fine detail
the stairway behind the bar,
the almost closed bathroom door
through which I glimpsed the
finery of another.  These and the
heat in my room from
the vent in the floor–my
mattress positioned just so
and our feet every morning cooked.

MAN and WOMAN
I would write to you if I could

WOMAN
For several hours, I’ve waited.
Waited among menacing chairs, one
of which I haven’t moved for at
least a week–the shadows even
on dark days essential to
the gravity of the room.
I heard the sink in the
window and others voices from
the corner where there is
no one.  When you were here
last, we padded from room to
room in ghostly quiet.  Everything,
you said, was how it appeared
to you in dreams–something that
scared me since it is
all too real for me.
The tower bells ring every hour.
Caruso rattles from the back courtyard.
I can only wait for you.
If I could, I would write.

 

 

The Song of the Dream Awake

I am always excited by enabling constraints and find that I come up with things I would never have discovered unless I was prompted to do so.  In that vain, here is a script I wrote for the English National Opera Mini-Operas contest.  This scene is meant to be an aria for a man who starts to discover the seeds of his own madness, and wonders whether to be afraid or excited.  It is inspired by a Neil Gaiman story seed.

 

The Song of the Dream Awake

MAN
Last night I buried my
head in my grandmother’s
neck–breathed deep of
the long afternoons we
spent idling beneath the
lemon tree by the
gravel lawn, the faint smell
of the sun mingling with
that musk that smells so
much like embalming fluid.
To my surprise,
she is still here, walking
beside me on the way to
work.  My stride is slower,
more ponderous, while the
man besides me rushes
ahead having been given the
gift of forgetting.
It appears that most
are that lucky–
firmly in today’s world of
their newspapers or at least
only temporarily aloft in
the cloud of their consumption.
I count myself among them
most days.
What did I forget this morning?
I dropped my coffee
on the rug, lingered on the
steam shadows in the shower
and imagined the brusk embrace
of an older woman–her skin
and bones a welcome luxury.
And these are only the moments
I remember, the ones I commit
to the page in my hurried reasoning.
There are more, hovering just
beyond my grasp, but there,
as the water retreats from the shore…

 

 

BROTHER BROTHER

Brother Brother is an operatic work for percussion, strings, choir, soloists and actors that explores the enigma of brotherhood. The story, follows the lives of two pairs of brothers–one historical (Orville and Wilbur Wright) and one contemporary and fictional (RED and BLUE)—as they discover the character of their bond to one another.

CAST
Singing Roles
Mother Fate, Soprano
Wilbur Wright, Tenor
Orville Wright, Countertenor
SATB Chorus

Acting Roles
RED – Male Actor
BLUE – Male Actor
Distant Voices – Male and Female Actors

Orchestra
Vibraphone 1
Vibrapahone 2
Glockenspiel
Flute
Viola
Cello

DOWNLOAD LIBRETTO

RECORDING EXCERPTS
MANTRA Percussion: Joe Bergen – Vibraphone, Al Cerulo – Vibraphone, Michael McCurdy – Glockenspiel; Erin Wight – Viola, Mariel Roberts – Cello, Roberta Michel – Flute, Michele Kennedy – Soprano, Patrick Fennig – Countertenor, Jonathan Hampton – Tenor, Steven Hrycelak – Bass, Amy Lynn Stewart – Actor, Ryan McCarthy – Actor)

There’s Always Mom

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Kitty Hawk (Brother’s Tears)

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Interlude

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The Silent Puzzle Played

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GROUP

Collective sound iPhone application for public performers (2010)

GROUP: 6-21-11 Performance from Aaron Siegel on Vimeo.

Here is just a sampling of some of the press from the premiere of GROUP at the New York Stock Exchange on June 21, 2011:

Make Music New York Preview

WNYC Write-Up

CBS New York Preview

METRO NY Preview and Write-Up

DNAInfo Write-Up- Manhattan Local News

Video Report from SinoVision (chinese language television)

The Silent Puzzle Played

For two vibraphones, glockenspiel, cello, violin, flute and SATB Chorus (2010)