Category Archives: Choral

Shapeless – Like Water (2014) for 2 treble voices

Shapeless – Like Water (2014) 4 min.
for 2 treble voices

Performed by Bullis Charter School Advanced choir MELODIA directed by David Belles
May 20, 2015 at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, CA.

Program Notes
Bruce Lee’s most famous quote is an amalgamation of a lot of different philosophies he studied. It is basically about adaptability. Being able to adapt to any situation is an important skill to have. I knew I would be writing for middle school students and I wanted to write something that would actually teach them something. I have applied Bruce Lee’s philosophies a lot in my life, especially music. I find myself absorbing multiple types of sound and music and using them despite their disparity. Different things coming together often produce beautiful new creations.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Universa (2014) for SATB

Performed by
Amy Haghighi – soprano
Elizabeth Calame – alto
Sean Cooper – tenor
Alex Kadarauch, Nick Vasallo – bass

Recorded and mixed by Nick Vasallo.

Universa in Latin means “all.” I am becoming increasingly focused on concentrated sounds. To live inside a sonority and explore its depth. Melody, memorable motifs, [a]tonal systems, and rhythmic cycles are unimportant in this realm. The sound is the form, and the form is the sound.

The Prophecy (2008, 2013) for SATB choir

The Prophecy (2008, 2013) 11 min.
for SATB, baritone, and organ.
Premiere: November 15, 2013 at Washington State University, Bryan Hall Theatre.

I. Judicabo Te
II. Et Non Parcet

Performed by
WSU Concert Choir with soloist Rodrigo Cortes and organist Juliana Witt

Conducted by Dr. Lori Wiest

Program Notes
A setting of two passages from The Book of Ezekiel (7:3-7:4). Here is a final message of doom upon the whole land; the judgment is inevitable and close at hand; social relations will be broken up; preparations will be of no avail; wealth misused for idolatry and luxury will become the spoil of the heathen; priests, prophets, king and nobles will be helpless to deliver; the Temple will be profaned, and the remnant shall be overwhelmed with sorrow. Each movement was composed 5 years apart.

I. Judicabo Te (2008)
Ezekiel 7:3 – Nunc finis super te, et immittam furorem meum in te: et judicabo te juxta vias tuas, et ponam contra te omnes abominationes tuas. “The end is now upon you, and I will unleash my anger against you: “I will judge you according to your ways, and bring all your abominations upon you.”

II. Et non parcet (2013)
Ezekiel 7:4 – Et non parcet oculus meus super te, et non miserebor: sed vias tuas ponam super te, et abominationes tuæ in medio tui erunt: et scietis quia ego Dominus. “I will not look on you with pity; I will not spare you. I will surely repay you for your conduct and for the detestable practices among you. “‘Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

Pages from Nick Vasallo - The Prophecy 1

The Prophecy (2008, 2013)
for SATB, baritone, and organ
Full Score (Digital)

De civitatibus (2007) for SATB choir

De civitatibus (2007) 4 min.
for SATB
Premiere: June 13, 2009. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
2009 San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices Competition winner

Performed by San Francisco Choral Artists at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church San Francisco June 13, 2009

Directed by Magen Solomon

I didn’t hear the name Carlo Gesualdo until my last year as an undergraduate music major. Upon my first hearing I felt a strange affinity and familiarity with his music. After studying several of his motets and madrigals, I composed this piece over the course of a single weekend just in time to honor CSU East Bay’s Professor Emeritus David Stein (who introduced me to Gesualdo) for his retirement ceremony. [JOB 24:12 De civitatibus fecerunt viros gemere, et anima vulneratorum clamavit: et Deus inultum abire non patitur. “The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.”].