What Goes Around —2019

“What Goes Around” was written as a gift for my longtime friend, flutist Bart Feller.

I was on a sabbatical from teaching and therefore had more time than usual to reflect on some of my favorite collaborative projects with musicians. Bart and I first met in 1992 when he performed a new work of mine on a New York Festival of Song program. As a result of our immensely enjoyable first collaboration, I wrote several new chamber pieces for Bart (and his amazing friends). Bart subsequently recorded much of my music for flute, and during these years we became good friends. “What Goes Around” is both a musical reflection on our friendship and collaborations, and also a look back at a few influences that have shaped me as a composer. I have written music for plays since I was in school, and the first and fourth movements (prelude and interlude) are based on music I wrote for a production of “The Laramie Project” at Philadelphia Theatre Company in 2001. Composing incidental music for this play had a profound impact on me because of the power of its subject matter, which centers on a community’s response to the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The play is breathtaking, and the stories (told through interviews with the townspeople of Laramie) reveal terrifying darkness and life-affirming compassion. The second movement (follow you, follow me) is more technically driven, consisting entirely of imitative canonic writing. There is something incredibly satisfying about working in the logic and interplay of voices in counterpoint. What might seem like more of an exercise really is something more organic, reflecting the communication and mutual support evident in the act of playing chamber music. The third movement (after talking with Gavin Bryars) was written after attending the premier of Bryars’ “A Native Hill” by The Crossing. At the post-concert reception, I told Bryars how influential his music had been on mine, especially his violin duo, “The Last Days” from 1995. It was around this time that I first heard his music, and I was drawn to its textural clarity and depth of expression. The final movement (what goes around) is a spirited rondo—I could think of no better way to round out this piece than with a rousing dance-like groove that keeps coming back, a reminder of the joy and energy of life.


1. prelude (the fence)

2. follow you, follow me

3. after talking with Gavin Bryars

4. interlude (interview)

5. what goes around