Thomas J. Dempster :: Composer

West Columbia, SC USA


LARGE ENSEMBLE MUSIC:

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Among the Woodlands
Among the Woodlands [2016] [22:00] [wind ensemble and piano / four-hands]

In three movements, Among the Woodlands is my first return to the wind band medium in a decade. It is also the (very likely) first original composition (at least in the 21st Century) for wind band and four-hand piano. The work was commissioned by Lamar University's Wind Ensemble, various Greek musical societies, and Duo Korusa, to whom it is dedicated. As I spent much time in Texas, and as the institution commissioning the work is in Texas, the piece deals with many "Texas" elements within.

First performance: February 27, 2017, Nederland, TX

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* Will be available for purchase / rental in July, 2017.
camera
camera [2004] [16:00] [small orchestra - 1111+aux-1110-2pc-pf-strings - typically 15-20 performers]

In three movements, camera (which has its own weird life as my Master's thesis) is a work that was inspired by and concerned with my then-hobby of photography. While not distinctly or overtly programmatic, the work takes its cue from techniques, looking at objects from multiple perspectives, and the like. The score bears a much more extensive (if unnecessary) program note.

First performed: Mar. 30, 2004, Austin, TX
First Movement  
Second Movement  
Third Movement  

Complete recording (Soundcloud):


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Concerto for Viola and Orchestra
Concerto for Viola and Orchestra [2010] [40:00] [viola solo and large orchestra - [3333][4331] timp 3 perc hp pf strings]

My dissertation composition, I sought to create a work in an under-represented medium. Easily the "largest" work I've ever written (in terms of forces and duration), clocking in at over 41 minutes, the Concerto explores a host of techniques for the viola, but is an incredibly melodic and virtuosic piece, with a lot of orchestral flashiness and flair.

No audio samples available at this time.
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dancing between smoke and mirrors
dancing between smoke and mirrors [2004] [10:30] [wind ensemble and percussion]

Commissioned for the 2004 NC Governor's School Wind Ensemble, this piece is a gestural, coloristic work filled with ostinatos and big moments. The trumpet and oboe sections and percussion feature prominently into the work.
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First performed: July 22, 2004, Raleigh, NC
 
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marching in heavy water
marching in heavy water [2006] [12:30] [wind ensemble and percussion]

Commissioned for the 2006 NC Governor's School Wind Ensemble, this piece takes its cue from my anti-nuclear, pacifist proclivities. At the time of the composition, there was an intense war of words between the US and Iran over nuclear power and weapons, and talk of invading Iran. This came quickly on the heels of the invasion of Iraq. Unlike visions of sanguine skies, an overtly anti-war piece, this piece is more subtle, perhaps, moving across moods and caricatures, ending with a chilling, distant, air-raid siren.
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First performed: July 27, 2006, Raleigh, NC
 
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scenes from a fragmented ballet
scenes from a fragmented ballet [2005] [12:00] [wind ensemble and percussion]

Commissioned for the 2005 NC Governor's School Wind Ensemble, this piece imagines a series of dance movements on a stage, from serene duets to primal and ritualistic ensembles. The piece arises out of dusky clouds and undergoes a series of starts and stops, elements juxtaposed and occasionally blending into one another.
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First performed: July 21, 2005, Raleigh, NC

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solstice
solstice [2005] [7:00] [brass ensemble and percussion]

Composed in 2005 for possible performance during summer of that same year, this brief work for orchstral brass and percussion is a highly-canonic and spectrally-influenced work that exists somewhere between fanfare and distant mountain echo.
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No audio samples available.
[Preview coming soon!] [Score purchase coming soon!]
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 1 [2001] [25:00] [wind symphony - 3333-4231, no perc]

At the time my largest piece, this 25-minute work for orchestral winds is in four movements, modeled after a late-Romantic symphonic form (moderate, aggressive opening movement; scherzo second movement; melodious, sensual third movement that is the keystone of the work; and the fast, in-one's-face closing movement). Germanic in its harmonic language, French in its clarity, and Italian in its melodic treatments, the piece is a good snapshot of where I was as a senior in college, which was when it was composed.
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First performed: November 18, 2001, Greensboro, NC
Audio preview coming soon.
[Preview coming soon!] [Score purchase coming soon!]
visions of sanguine skies
visions of sanguine skies [2003] [8:30] [wind ensemble and percussion]

Commissioned for the 2003 NC Governor's School Wind Ensemble, this work is a direct musical challenge to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
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First performed: July 24, 2003, Raleigh, NC
 
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* If you would like a PDF binder of all individual parts, please email me and I will invoice you. I would be happy to send you a preview PDF score of any of these works via email if you wish; just contact me.