Music for Theater

Agnes of God

Received a KCACTF certificate of Merit for music composition, 2019

Kyrie - Tyler Quinn
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Pieces like this were composed to be sung live onstage by the actress portraying Agnes. They aurally support the joyous, reverent, innocent face that she presents. They are stylized after movements of the Catholic Mass and follow strict conventions for composing sacred music like this. Stepwise chromatic motion, an avoidance of large intervals between notes and free meters are used to support evoke the sound of sacred compositions. However, in order to evoke the joy that Agnes sings with, I broke convention by making the pieces have a wider, livelier sound by composing in a reasonably large range and with long melismatic phrases.
Promissa Est Terra, pt. 2 - Unknown Artist
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This piece was one of two expressionistic compositions that underscored the hypnosis scenes. These compositions are broader and feature a full choir to convey the idea of Agnes's mind being open to Dr. Livingston and Mother Miriam. The conventions of composing sacred music remain when Agnes is calm, but those conventions are jettisoned when she recalls the darkest moments of her life and gets further away from the light of God. Dissonant harmonies and polyphonic textures are incorporated gradually as Agnes fear increases. Techniques like this would have been considered blasphemous in sacred compositions. These emotional shifts unfold in realtime with the scene. 
Entrac'te - Agnes of God
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Fires in the Mirror

Composed with Allen Harrison

Received a KCACTF certificate of Merit for music composition, 2017

"I want you know how compelling, unobtrusive and, down right perfect I found the music. It was truly exceptional and beautiful.  I also appreciated the quiet and thoughtful manner in which you worked."

- Roger Held, Director of "Fires in the Mirror", Professor at Michigan Technological University Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

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Fires in the Mirror recounts the 1991 death of Gavin Cato and the riots that followed. It is structured as a series of monologues from 21 different residents of Crown Heights, each offering conflicting accounts of the accident and the events leading up to it. Each monologue had a different tone, a different character with a different personality, a different personal history and a different delivery. Allen and I composed to reflect this. We wanted to write music that would free the audience to experience and interpret the events in their own way, thus the music isn't cue based. It only occasionally follows beats from the script, but mostly it takes a broader approach and suggests as a whole, how the monologue should feel, rather than change at every event recounted. From the diversity of the cast, characters and monologues, the music adopts several different styles as well, where needed. Our music for Fires in the Mirror touches upon elements of Klezmer, hip hop, jazz, orchestral, blues, ambient, noise and religious.

Roots Pt. 1 - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Throughout the Roots monologue, Leonard Jeffries, performed by Nathan Shaiyen, explains his involvement with the TV show, Roots. He was a college professor and worked on the show as a consultant for African American history. His years of work ended up being cast aside in favor of a story with less historical accuracy, one that the producers felt would increase ratings. This composition is used to convey the sarcasm and acidic tone that the monologue was delivered with, in addition to the underlying despair and exhaustion. At the 2:10 mark of the piece, the tone dramatically changes at the moment where he recounts being told that the producers "are under no obligation to maintain the integrity of black history". At this point the composition is used to convey his anger and disgust.
The Coup - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Rosalyn Malamud, played by Callisto Cortez, blames the police and black leaders for letting the events and crisis get out of control. Her monologue was delivered with a delicacy and evoked a tone of urgency and paranoia. The music was composed to reflect this.
16 Hours Difference - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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My Brother's Blood - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Norman Rosenbaum, portrayed by Noah Kozminski, speaks at a rally about wanting justice for his brother's murder during the riots, and that he doesn't believe the police are doing all that they can. Noah's delivery of the monologue was brimming with anger and a charismatic presence. It almost sounded like a call to battle, and the music was composed to emphasize this feeling. The didgeridoo is included within the instrumentation to represent Rosenbaum's Austrailian nationality.
16 Hours Difference - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Norman Rosenbaum, has a second monologue that differs entirely in tone from the first one. With 16 Hours Difference, he recalls the moment he learned of his brother's death. The music, while retaining mostly the same melody and central instrumentation, is composed to reflect a more devastated, broken and sorrowful tone. Additionally, brass instruments are swapped out in the accompaniment for more traditional klezmer instrumentation.
Chords - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Sonny Carson, portrayed by Toure Court, describes his personal contributions in the black community and how he is trying to teach blacks to act against the white power structure. He has an extremely charismatic way of speaking, but there is also a smarminess to him. He derives a lot of power and control over people with his charisma and implies that he has pushed race related violence. We composed a smooth jazz piece to convey all of this, as we thought it would emphasize his roguish, slimy actions that are veiled under a sheen of cultivated prestige.
Rage - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Richard Green, portrayed by Reggie Mullen, describes the increasing tension that led to violence and riots in Crown Heights, seemingly in the blink of an eye, and how they only seem to be worsening with no sign of easing out. The music was composed to have a more hip-hop oriented musical backbone, as the monologue was from an African American youth in the 90s, but it also adopts fragmented, sonically decayed, noise based influences to convey the destruction, mayhem and intensity of the riots.
Isaac - Tyler Quinn and Allen Harrison
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Letty Cottin Pogrebin, portrayed by Marie Miller, talks about her Uncle Isaacs survival of the holocaust, and the trauma he experienced from the death of his family. Music is used to convey Letty's aching sadness that some of her family died in such a horrible historical tragedy and that she will never know them.
Photos on this page taken by Andrew Bess, Allen Harrison and Sam Palumbo

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