for string orchestra | 2010
Ascend is a bright, fast-paced, rhythmically energetic work for strings and optional harp. The title comes from the shape of the themes, which are constantly rising, reaching higher and higher throughout the piece. In writing Ascend, my goal was to create an exciting and challenging work for a youth orchestra, which would be fun to play but would also push them in some way. The most challenging aspects of this piece are the periodic layering of offset rhythms, which creates an interactive, pulsating tapestry of sound; and the syncopations and hemiolas that characterize so much of the thematic material.
Ascend betrays several of my early influences, including bluegrass musicians like Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer (I think you will hear the fiddle-ish element), English string music (which was a strong tradition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries), and film music. It turned into a melting pot of the different styles of string music I listened to growing up. Ascend was written for the 2010 Sacramento Youth Symphony Chamber Music Workshop.