| in pursuit of ghosts
Instrumentation: Solo Tuba, Percussion Sextet, and Piano
Commissioner: McCormick Percussion Group
Year Composed: 2018
In Pursuit of Ghosts is an exploration of self and former selves. As one moves from one chapter of life to the next, we often reassess what defines us as a person: what we are passionate for and from what we derive happiness, joy, and purpose. Through the structure of a concerto, Pursuit looks back on three present-day specters; former versions of others and myself that feel a lifetime ago and have moved on from existing in this plane. “Heartland” explores my youth growing up in the Midwest, replete with nods to marching band music and organized religion. “Cat’s Cradle” takes a difficult look at a point in my life that would indelibly alter my projection as a musician, friend, and father: the attempted suicide of my father. The movement features several quotes from my Les Rêves Nocturne (2008), the first piece I wrote following the suicide attempt – and my last work for large percussion ensemble. Lastly, “Spirits” questions what we may be able to hold on to when loved ones have left us (especially those who have left unexpectedly soon) and remember with joy the memories we retain after they have left.
In Pursuit of Ghosts was commissioned by Bob McCormick and premiered by the McCormick Percussion Group with
soloist Joseph Alvarez in November 2018.