|dc.description.abstract||The overall aim of this portfolio was to develop an understanding of how music fits socially,
historically, and technically into the landscape of 21st century culture.
The aims of the portfolio were to explore static harmony (resonance), statistically similar melodic
sequences, electronic drones, rhythmic development (cycles), melodic development, and non-linear
textures. A compositional process turned personal journey became the driving energy for these
works, and one can see a clear development, as each piece is built on the findings of previous ones.
The musical language became more sophisticated as a result of both these new techniques as well as
interactions with other collaborators (including musicians, dancers, scientists, visual artists, and
Each of the technical aims was developed throughout the creation of the portfolio. These are among
the techniques which helped shape late 20th century music, with the goal of joining some of them
together in new and aesthetically pleasing ways. Early on, there was a shift in the way they were
applied, especially creating resonance, which was first done with acoustic instruments and then
electronic drones. The repetition and rhythmic cycles also developed by using transition matrices
from a Markov Chain process to create ‘melody rhythms’ (discussed more in Sequence). Pieces
like Lost in Space and Smoke of Freedom were written by combining all of these techniques
together in a fusion of static harmony, rhythmic cycles, and expressive melodies.
I also had a social motivation when writing these works. For example, Wind Gust 42058 uses the
trend of ‘data is the new gold’ by giving the audience a meaningful way to ‘experience the data’.
Also, Smoke of Freedom tells the story from the perspective of a man who is oppressed in China,
not dissimilar from the four Hong Kong book sellers who were taken away by Chinese authorities
for ‘selling restricted books’. When this occurred in 2015, a lot of people were thinking of leaving
the city in search of a more open society, and Smoke of Freedom follows the story of a man who
does exactly that, leaving everything behind in search of a better life.
The Answered Hymn is a unique piece in that it was performed at Westminster Abbey and St.
Martin-in-the-Fields for special services celebrating the 500th anniversary of Lutheranism. The
performances brought together 12 different choirs from around the world, each singing in their own
language, and, in a ‘Post-Brexit’ United Kingdom, aimed to bring together themes of multi-nationalism
The musical language developed during the course of this portfolio shows how musical technique
can fit into and comment on the social, technological, and historical landscape of 21st century