Falling (into the unknown)

For solo electric guitar; 10′, 2015.

Performed by Jacob Wiens, June 21 at Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Presented by Montréal Contemporary Music Lab. Live recording.

Additional performances: Ontario premiere at Between the Ears Festival in Waterloo on June 3, 2017. Performed by guitarist Mike Anderson.

Falling (into the unknown) expresses a mental state of fear that one may experience and continually struggle with. I’ve been interested in exploring the concepts of stillness and chaos and how they might interact in specific contexts. There is a lot that can happen in a fearful state. I find that stillness and chaos are greatly present in fear. They overlap and exchange through different kinds of tension. They are present within each other’s form, maybe just for a brief moment or could be sustained for a longer period of time.



For mixed ensemble (fl, bn, gl, vib, perc, pno, vln, vla); 15′, 2015.

Commissioned by Sarah Hopkin for her choreographic work. Performed at Winchester Theatre with Nostos Collectives on March 15, 2015.

Living in the past is something most of us experience at one time or another. This piece looks at when reflecting on ones past becomes a part of who you are, like a personal reflex, and the journey to finding happiness in the present. – Sarah Hopkin


Musicians: Daniel Stefan (fl), Ian Hopkin (bn), Alesio Barbera (gl, vib), Robert Purcell (per, gl), Julia Mermelstein (pno), Crystal Lee (vln), Cole Canaday (vla)

Recorded and mixed by Julia Mermelstein; Percussion recorded by Jordan Hunsberger


Echoes of Illumina

For string quartet, 2015; 20′.

Commissioned by the Windermere String Quartet. Premiered on March 29 at St. Olaves Church, Toronto.

When I was asked to write for the quartet, I wanted to compose a piece that embodied their distinct sound and unique approach to early quartet music. In my search for inspiration I was drawn to “Illumina Faciem Tuam” by composer Carlo Gesualdo. Though the piece was written during the Renaissance, the emotional content still feels very relevant and accessible. My intent for “Echoes of Illumina” was to capture that character in a modern voice. The piece echoes the nuances most striking about Gesualdo’s work, as well as zooming in on detailed musical moments.


For melodica, toy piano, and piano; 4’30”, 2014.

unform explores the disappearing and recurrence of musical thoughts through two contrasting moods: a sparse whimsical and delicate state versus an agitated percussive pulse. 

While writing the piece, I was inspired by a lot of sounds and textures from Icelandic and Nordic ambient/pop and post-rock music, especially the contrasts between soft and dreamy melodious sounds to rich dark colours and textures.

Water Is the Stranger Here

For violin, cello, piano, and voice; 11’30”, 2014.

Commissioned by Sarah Hopkin for her choreographic work. Performed at New Voices Festival 2014.

The piece explores the power of water and the experience of drowning, with influences drawn from The English Patient.

Violin – Cyrstal Lee
Cello – Brenton Chan
Piano/voice – Julia Mermelstein

Text – excerpts from The English Patient
Recorded and mixed by Julia Mermelstein