This has been my pattern lately: as I move from one piece to the next, each becomes a reaction against the previous one, creating a large-scale zigzag between parallel tracks moving towards some unseen point of convergence (or maybe it's more like an asymptote). On the one hand, I'm attracted to complexity and abstraction; I want to create music with pulsing vitality but without an obvious pulse, music that is harmonically expressive and nuanced but without discernible common-practice underpinnings, music that speaks through color and gesture, and melodies that sing but without affectation or rhetorical precedent. On the other hand, I keep feeling the impulse to simplify, go back to basics, speak plainly and without obfuscation, build from the ground up, and communicate a primal impulse rooted in the musical traditions that I was born and grew up in. I know I'm not the only one working to try to resolve these contradictions.
My next piece, due in September, is a work for two pianos, commissioned by the Indiana Music Teachers Association/Music Teachers National Association. We'll see where the next impulse leads me.