Channel Islands Suite

Off the coast of southern California is an archipelago called The Channel Islands. Endearingly referred to as “The Galapagos of North America”, it is made up of eight islands spanning just north of Santa Barbara down to San Diego. Each island is currently owned or operated by The National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and/or the Navy. Native Americans made many of these islands their home 13,000 years ago until Europeans displaced them between the 1500s-1800s. Following this, the Western American ranching era heavily impacted the archipelago’s natural resources in an effort to produce agricultural products in a fragile ecosystem. Now, conservation is a priority on most islands where many species of plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world.

In December of 2016 I began the Channel Islands Suite project. Each trip to a Channel Island has followed the same regime: research of its history and unique features, jotting down of musical themes and thoughts while on the island, and finally, fleshing out the rest of the movement at home. By composing and having this eight movement suite performed, I hope to raise awareness and appreciation for the natural and cultural resources these islands embody. A premiere is scheduled for 2019.

 Santa Cruz Island is large and diverse. The full chamber orchestra with brass was incorporated, creating a loud, powerful piece with themes inspired by Chumash ceremony.

Santa Cruz Island is large and diverse. The full chamber orchestra with brass was incorporated, creating a loud, powerful piece with themes inspired by Chumash ceremony.

 The wind, isolation, and story of the lone woman are the inspiration for the San Nicolas movement. Over a tumultuous base of strings and woodwinds, a single soprano voice carries the melody thought to have been the lone woman's song recorded on wax cylinder in 1913.

The wind, isolation, and story of the lone woman are the inspiration for the San Nicolas movement. Over a tumultuous base of strings and woodwinds, a single soprano voice carries the melody thought to have been the lone woman's song recorded on wax cylinder in 1913.

 Anacapa Island is one of the most iconic and visited islands. The cheerful melody is played by a string quartet with two french horn which contribute to the foghorn ambience. 

Anacapa Island is one of the most iconic and visited islands. The cheerful melody is played by a string quartet with two french horn which contribute to the foghorn ambience. 

 Santa Barbara Island has been declared an "Important Bird Area" (IBA) by the National Audubon Society. After researching the resident birds and their calls, I wove parts of their songs into a woodwind, percussion, and marimba ensemble.

Santa Barbara Island has been declared an "Important Bird Area" (IBA) by the National Audubon Society. After researching the resident birds and their calls, I wove parts of their songs into a woodwind, percussion, and marimba ensemble.

 The San Miguel movement begins with a light, giddy mood and finishes on a more serious tone, mirroring the experience of ranching families that lived on the island in the 1800s and 1900s.

The San Miguel movement begins with a light, giddy mood and finishes on a more serious tone, mirroring the experience of ranching families that lived on the island in the 1800s and 1900s.

 Santa Rosa Island is slowly recovering from destructive cattle grazing. As the second largest island, the instrumentation includes the whole chamber orchestra. The brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion weave melodies and counterpoint morphing into a triumphant conclusion. 

Santa Rosa Island is slowly recovering from destructive cattle grazing. As the second largest island, the instrumentation includes the whole chamber orchestra. The brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion weave melodies and counterpoint morphing into a triumphant conclusion.