My 2nd Woodwind Quintet was written for the Alterity Chamber Orchestra from late May through July 15th 2017 via a call for scores by CF2 (Central Florida Composers Forum). It premiered on October 15th at the Timucua White House, thanks to the Timucua Music Foundation here in Orlando. This quintet has a special place in my heart because of the way the inspiration came about:


Brendon Lay

Chords Bren Dad 1

Our first inter-composed chord set, parts of which inspired this quintet

My youngest son Brendon and I began a game of trading chords the piano over last Christmas Break. First, one of us would find a chord on the piano that we felt was especially pregnant with possibility or moving and then write it down. Then, the other would find its compliment and write that down. Then, the first chord writer would find and write a third chord that progressed in some way, lending shape to their direction. We gave ourselves the ability to write as many as 4 chords if we felt moved to do so at once. We ended the sequence when we both felt it was over. I found this activity so delightful and profound, it re-inspired me as a composer, reigniting my deep love of harmony and its mysterious power over me, the reason I wanted to be a composer in the first place. Pieces and parts of our game became a seed for this music.




1. Nostalgia

The first movement explores alternative fingerings. The effect I’m looking for includes unusual tone-colors resulting from slight variations in harmonics and intonation. Alternative fingerings include harmonics (˚), which ask the musician to excite a harmonic mode in their instrument through changing their embouchure. I learned a great deal from the website of clarinetist Heather Roche  on this subject. In addition, I learned alternative fingerings for the flute, oboe, horn and bassoon from,, Wendell World and Mark Charette’s Woodwind Fingering Guide. I recommend them to all composers!

click to download score


VSL MIDI mock-up:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *