Pareidolia (2019) 

for clarinet/tenor saxophone, percussion/drum set, piano/synthesizers, string quartet and electronics

Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.

Performed by:

Zulfugar Baghirov - clarinet and tenor saxophone
Thom Monks - percussion and drum set
Conrad Tao - piano and synthesizers
JACK Quartet:
Christopher Otto - violin
Austin Wulliman - violin
John Pickford Richards - viola
Jay Campbell - cello

Richard Nelson - recording engineer

Recorded on April 23, 2019 at Baldwin Auditorium in Durham, NC.

Lattice Scattering (2018) 

for flute, piano and electronics

Atoms, or smaller particles, are naturally lined up in a crystal formation (lattice). Lightwaves are sent towards this lattice to find out how the light bounces off and scatters. By analyzing the patterns and shapes this scattering creates, one can learn about the geometry of the lattice, and thereby the structure of the matter in question. This is a procedure which is frequently done when engineers want to test a new material for an industrial design. If the wavelength of the light is larger than the space between the lattice points, there will be no interaction and the light wave will just pass through (silence). However, if the wavelength is just right, there will be reactionary oscillations, which will create "phonon scattering" (sound).

Performed by Ensemble Suono Giallo:

Andrea Biagini - Flute
Simone Nocchi - Piano

Recorded live on July 21, 2018 at Teatro Comunale degli Illuminati in Città di Castello, Italy.

You’re Like a Scorpion, My Brother (2018) 

for countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass

Text: "Strangest Creature on Earth" (1947) by Nâzım Hikmet

Performed by New York Polyphony:

Geoffrey Williams - countertenor
Steven Caldicott Wilson - tenor
Christopher Dylan Herbert - baritone
Craig Phillips - bass

Recorded live on January 19, 2018 at Baldwin Auditorium in Durham, NC.

Bozkır (2016) 

for string quartet

This piece is inspired by the endless steppes that span Eurasia—from Eastern Turkey until Western China. The title Bozkır literally means ‘steppes’ in Turkish. The string quartet is treated as a homogeneous unit rather than four separate entities, and at times, imagined as an oriental instrument. The first third of the piece explores several ideas derived from Turkish maqams and the folk tradition of bards’ songs, while presenting it in a manner where a constant shift of focus occurs back and forth between melodic and rhythmic structures. The second third of the piece depicts an imaginary journey from East to West through localities of texture. The final third of the piece concludes on an Anatolian folk song-like theme.

Performed by Mivos Quartet:

Olivia De Prato - Violin
Lauren Cauley - Violin
Victor Lowrie - Viola
Mariel Roberts - Cello

Recorded live on October 5, 2016 at Nelson Music Room in Durham, NC.

Ordinary Things (2016) 

for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, percussion, violin, double bass and electronics

The design of this work is inspired by the rhythmic patterns and concealed musical structures in human speech.  Most aspects of the piece, such as rhythm, pitch and timbre, were generated through a series of computer analyses, examining the spectral formation of the Turkish President's voice. Temporal changes and formant transitions in the spectra are represented through various orchestral combinations (employing IRCAM's Orchids software) and digitally manipulated instrument samples in the electronics part. The recorded electronics serve as an extension of the live ensemble as well as replaying various excerpts and small fragments of the president's speeches, obscuring the meaning and emotional charge of the words. Ordinary Things does not aim to recreate the sound of human speech but highlights some of the micro-events in its frequency spectrum.

Performed by Deviant Septet:

Caleb Burhans - Violin
Doug Balliett - Double Bass
Bill Kalinkos - Clarinet
Brad Balliett - Bassoon
Mike Gurfield - Trumpet
Matthew Melore - Trombone
Jared Soldiviero - Percussion

Recorded live on March 11, 2016 at Baldwin Auditorium in Durham, NC.

Philae (2015)

for piano and electronics

In 2004, European Space Agency launched a space probe called Rosetta on a mission to land and perform a study of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. "Philae" was the name of its lander module. On 12 November 2014, “Philae” performed the first ever landing on a comet. Following the landing, which was a momentous event, the module got stuck in a ditch and all communications were cut off after a brief exchange of data. Months later there was a re-connection. “Philae” is still on the comet, studying data. This amazing human achievement inspired me to write a piece which marvels at the struggles, maneuvers and the loneliness of this little lander module.

Conrad Tao - piano

Recorded live on March 24, 2016 at Baldwin Auditorium in Durham, NC.

Devinim (2015)

for piccolo, bass clarinet, horn, electric guitar, viola and cello

Performed by yMusic ensemble:

Rob Moose - Electric Guitar
Nadia Sirota - Viola
Andrea Lee - Cello
Hideaki Aomori - Bass Clarinet
Alex Sopp - Piccolo
CJ Camerieri - Horn

Recorded live on March 3, 2015 at MOTORCO Music Hall in Durham, NC.

Crash Landing (2013)

for 11 instruments

Though not strictly programmatic in the narrative sense, this piece tries to evoke an atmosphere of a place/time/mood wherein a certain event has taken place:

“A space craft suddenly loses control of all navigational and communication equipment and is forced into doing a crash landing on a foreign planet. The crew wakes up after a loud crash and there is debris everywhere and all sorts of sounds: hydraulics losing air pressure, instruments beeping, and fluids dripping on the ground. After hopeless hours of trying to fix the instruments, the nerves start to break down. The rest is the exploration of the human spirit in an alien land.”

It is scored for an ensemble without percussion, as a challenge to achieve rhythmic interest solely through counterpoint and timbral applications, as well as being inspired by the orchestration of Xenakis’ Phlegra (1975).

Performed by:

Recep Fıçıyapan - flute & piccolo
Barkın Balık - oboe
Çağdaş Engin - clarinet
Berke Hitay - bassoon
Sadi Baruh - horn
Ege Cengiz - trumpet
Hüseyin Çakır - bass trombone
Nilgün Yüksel - violin
Ulrich Mertin - viola
Levent Aydın - cello
Aydın Balpınar - double bass

Sabri Tuluğ Tırpan - conductor

Can Karadoğan - recording engineer

Recorded on November 21, 2013 at Istanbul Technical University’s MIAM Studios in İstanbul, Turkey.

Plasticity (2013)

for piano and tape

Plasticity constitutes an effort to convey spontaneity and interplay with a non-human element in the ensemble. In a group improvisation, members of the group would share the task of leading the ensemble through passing time. I wanted to let the electronics make decisions for the pianist at times by taking over the lead. My goal was to create a sense of an organic flow, within which two entities exchange musical ideas in response to the timbral, temporal and registral fluctuations of the musical space.