Setting for Tenor and Piano of the poem in 8 parts by Walt Whitman

I’m thrilled and honored to be composing a work for the great American tenor, Anthony Dean Griffey, a very large (28 min.) single-movement setting of the Walt Whitman poem The Mystic Trumpeter.

In my more than 30 years of composing, I had never been drawn to Whitman as so many other composers have been, but I thought I would go through his poems just “one last time” in my search for the perfect text for Tony to sing. Lo and behold, the moment I laid eyes on The Mystic Trumpeter, electricity went down my back and I knew this was the text.

Walt Whitman Archive: The Kansas Magazine

Walt Whitman Archive: The Mystic Trumpeter, February 1872


Setting for Soprano or Mezzo Soprano, with Alto Saxophone, of the poem in 13 parts by Wallace Stevens

I was so honored to be commissioned by the stunning saxophonist Carrie Koffman, and so excited to work with her once again. (My work for alto sax and piano, Orpheus Singing, was also composed for Carrie as a gift!)

Wallace Stevens is another poet that, after three decades of writing songs, I’d somehow never gotten to, so I was especially happy when Carrie asked me to set this unique and mysterious poem by Stevens. This is a poem I’d known about for a few years, but never had the right situation to attempt it in music; thankfully, Carrie’s project has turned out to be the perfect one in which to set this wonderful poem.

Poetry Foundation: Text of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Wikipedia: About the Poem


Setting for Tenor and Piano of the poem by A. E. Housman

I was humbled and honored to be included in a project devised by tenor Daniel Shirley – New Voices from Shropshire – in which 15 composers have been commissioned to “reengage the poetry of A.E. Housman (1859-1936) for the modern art song recital. Fifteen new Housman settings for tenor and piano will be composed by an aesthetically and culturally diverse range of American composers.”

The 15 composers contributing new art songs to the project are Matt Boehler, Juliana Hall, Kamala Sankaram, Tom Cipullo, Melinda Wagner, Travis Alford, Mark Taggart, Andre Myers, Mark Richardson, Scott Gendel, Edward Jacobs, Michael Slayton, Melissa Shiflett, Fahad Siadat and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Lieder Net: Bredon Hill

Wikipedia: About the Poem