Catclaw Mimosa (2011)
Catclaw Mimosa was my first composition for wind ensemble. The piece shares its name with an invasive species
of shrub which has infested areas in American Southwest. It is spiky but surprising warm and colorful.
In approaching such a large ensemble, I decided to begin with a small amount of material. The piece begins
with short groove - slowly expanding outward. The opening material heard in the saxes and low brass as a
composite is repeated many times, but always with a slightly varied metrical context. Meanwhile, cliché 4/4
Rock patterns appear in a false tempo in the drum set. Like the invasive species, the motives in my piece begin
as tiny seed-motives, interjected in the texture. Slowly they accrue and multiply until the ensemble is overtaken
and forced into a sort of temporal wasteland.
The piece was championed by Mallory Thompson at Northwestern and played by Symphonic Wind Ensemble at NU as well as the Northshore Concert Band at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinics that year. I sent the piece out to many band directors following those performances and received a generous response from many including the two performances on this page: above, the University of Texas Wind Symphony conducted by Robert Carnochan and below The Lawrence University Wind Ensemble coducted by Andrew Mast.
In 2013 this piece won the Grade VI Frank Ticheli Internation Composition Competition. It has been published by Manhattan Beach Music and will be available in early 2016.