Describe your inspiration for composing the piece.
Portraits is a reflective piece that explores solitude, angst, melancholy, rage, and content. Each of the five movements was inspired by a poem that depicts a portrait of someone, or perhaps a state of mind or version of ourselves.
What is the overall conception for the piece (for example, is it programmatic or abstract? Is there a specific formal structure, color, or musical device you employed?
This work is programmatic, drawing extramusical inspiration from a series of poems. While the movements vary aesthetically, the work is largely impressionistic with hints of indeterminacy. This piece was largely inspired by the work of Debussy, Satie, and Feldman.
What are some of the goals you strove to accomplish in writing the work?
One of the driving forces in this piece is pacing. I wanted the piece to breathe, and through the use of the sustain pedal, I wanted the overtones of the piano to be active participants in the musical gestures of the piece. The pacing of the work plays a major role in this and helps create the the reflective mood of the piece. I think this emphasis is best heard in the first movement, which is written spatially with stemless noteheads and long legato markings.
What do you hope your audience ultimately take away the most from hearing your work?
Ultimately, I hope this piece provides the audience with a moment of mediation and reflection.