Missed Connections Despite

for orchestra

Commissioned by the Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra

missed connections despite is a series of 11 polaroids for orchestra.

I imagine the work like a collage of found photographs (from the boxes of mismatched polaroids you might find in a vintage store or at an estate sale) stitched together to create a new narrative of other people’s stolen memories.

As I scan through the boxes of anonymous pictures, I realize that they represent intimate moments in time that someone wished to remember: loved ones, a favorite vacation spot, a sporting event, a sunset— common household objects, roadside signage, a crime scene, a mnemonic, and so on. The context in which these photos were taken, along with their meaning, is lost. Out of human nature to order the disordered, I assign and impose my own meaning — my own story — to these found memories. They become my family, my lovers, my time, my memories. They become my nostalgia.

Like the polaroids-in-a-box analogy, my piece stitches together 11 musical ‘images’, some of which are related, some of which are not. Alone, each of these images gives a simulacrum of a musical memory, place, or time. Together, they create a new narrative, a new story, a new life. I have given each of these an arcane title, not to enforce any kind of particular illustration, but to give the listener the latitude to wander — to instill their own interpretation to the music.

They are (in order):

Manhattanhenge • West Side Petrichor • Meconium Alpha • Grey Moss Collodion • The Algebra of Need • Pitchblende & Yellowcake • Halstead & Cicero: Panhandler of Dreams • Lincoln in Aspic • Meconium X-Ray • Craspedia Globosa • …exploding like spiders across the stars and in the… 


Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, Eb Clarinet, Bb Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones (III. Bass), Tuba, Timpani, Percussion: [Glockenspiel, Crotales, Chimes, Xylophone, Marimba, 2 Bongos (High and Low), Tambourine, 5 Rototoms (12”–18”), 2 Marching Bass Drums (for “Bass Drum Array”), Large Concert Bass Drum, 2 Woodblocks (Small and Medium), Temple, Blocks , Whip, Triangle, Flexatone, Ribbon Crasher, Tingsha Cymbals, Crash Cymbals, Suspended Metals (any resonant metals such as Metal Plates)], Harp, Pianoforte, Strings


6 Minutes


6 October 2017
Iowa State Symphony Orchestra
Jacob Harrison – Conductor
Martha-Ellen Tye Hall — Ames, Iowa