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About the Composer

Composer and educator Douglas Brown (b. 1970) is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University, receiving a bachelor's degree with a concentration in Music Theory & Composition. He served three terms as president of the Wayland student chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc., and is proud to have studied for eight semesters under the tutelage of composer Gary D. Belshaw.

In May 2012, Mr. Brown finished the next level of graduate work at Houghton College, completing study under David Davies and Sun Mi Ro with a Master of Music degree in music composition. He is a founding member of the Houghton Art Music Composers.

Mr. Brown is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from West Virginia University, having studied under John Beall and David Taddie. His current research focus is on the hyperscale, a scale that exceeds the limits of one octave by using differentiated pitches that are distinguished from those in the original octave.

He was the student representative for SCI Region III for the 2015-17 term, and now serves as president of the WVU student chapter, SCORE, for 2017-18.

Mr. Brown is also a member of the College Music Society (CMS), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers (CFAMC), the latter for which he serves as national board secretary.

His music publication business, Three Candles Music, champions the new music of living composers.


Representative List of Works

›› Updated March 31, 2017


Instrumental - Solo

A View from the Front Porch for Violin solo

Winter Landscape for Bb Clarinet solo with Piano accompaniment

Register Etudes for Bb Clarinet solo
• Chalumeau Etudes Nos. 1-2
• Clarion Etudes Nos. 1-2
• Altissimo Etudes Nos. 1-2

Parody No. 3, or
Balanced Third-Generation Flexibility, or
How to Make a "C" in Composition, a parody for Horn with Piano accompaniment

I Don't Know Yet, for Horn with Piano accompaniment

Oh, Now I Know... and Wish I Didn't, for Horn with Piano accompaniment

No Return, for Trumpet solo and Piano accompaniment

Running with The Lion, for Piano solo

Snow Theme and Spring Variation, for Flute solo

Streetwise, for Tuba solo with Piano accompaniment
1. Chaconne
›› 2. Exchange
›› 3. Downtown



Instrumental - Orchestral

Clarinet Concertino No. 1, "Bittersweet", for Clarinet and String Orchestra

Un Sospiro, transcription from Franz Liszt's Three Concert Etudes, for Full Orchestra - 2223 2020 Timp Str

Einleitung, for Full Orchestra - 3233 4220 4Perc Str

Lullaby for a Survivor, for Double String Orchestra



Instrumental - Chamber

untitled, for String Quartet
II. Lento
III. Allegretto frenetico

Lento, for Woodwind quartet (Fl/Pic,Ob,Cl,BCl)

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, arrangement for Brass Quintet with optional Snare Drum

Twitterpated, for Viola duet with Piano accompaniment

Homesick for Saxophone (SATB) and Horn Double Quartet

Elbow Room, for Marimba Trio (six hands, one marimba)



Vocal - Solo/Duet

The West Wind for Soprano duet with Piano accompaniment;
text by American poet William Cullen Bryant

We Pursue God Through Our Music for Soprano solo with Piano accompaniment

There Is a Solemn Wind Tonight for Medium-Low Voice solo with Piano accompaniment;
text by British poet Katherine Mansfield

Thoughts on the Works of Providence, a song cycle for Soprano solo (also in progress)
text by American poet Phillis Wheatley
1. Arise, my soul, on wings enraptur'd
2. Ador'd for ever be the God unseen
3. Almighty, in these wondrous works of thine
4. Hail, smiling morn, that from the orient main
5. Shall day to day and night to night conspire
6. As reasons pow'rs by day our God disclose

Servant Song (arr.), for Soprano and Alto (MS) duet with Piano accompaniment



Vocal - Opera

The Problem with This German, a Comic Operetta for Two Basses and Piano

untitled 3-act dramatic opera concerning mental health issues
in progress, approx. 15% complete

Pass This Class, a One-Act Comic Opera
for six soloists (ColorS, LyricS, MezzoS, Ctralt, LyricT, Bari), plus chorus
in progress, approx. 50% complete



Vocal - Choral

Psalm 132, a song of ascents, for SATB Choir

Sleepless, for SSAATTBB Choir;
text by American poet Sara Teasdale

Psalm 124, a song of ascents, for SATB Choir

Blessed Genesee, for SSAATTBB Choir

Mask, for SATB Choir


Compositions

Elbow Room


PDF score

Use the audio player above for a MIDI realization of the piece. For a video of the premiere performance, click here.

A colleague asked me if I would write a trio to be played on one marimba. While three players can fit comfortably on one side of a five-octave marimba, they cannot physically shift around too far without bumping elbows, hence, the staging concept and title were born, almost out of necessity. Elbow Room is set up as a comedy of sorts, with intentional crowding-out and voice-crossing, requiring creative sticking in close proximity in some instances. Though some places are marked in the score, players are encouraged to take the initiative to ham up some of the other more obvious (and maybe less obvious) unmarked places where conflict of elbow room could occur.

Because of the unique omni-directionality via downward transmission by the resonators, this piece allows all three marimbists to make a trip around the keyboard once without fear of having the body block the sound from the audience. Each marimbist spends more or less time playing on the back side, predominantly on the "black" keys, which creates opportunities for some unusual textures and eye-catching crossing of voices.

Programmatically, Elbow Room opens with each player approaching the keyboard one at a time, as if each had never planned to play together in the first place. Junctions of misunderstanding result in some players getting pushed off the end of the marimba, which then allows the players to resort to the back side of the keyboard, the only place now left to play. Throughout the work, the players eventually learn to work together with the occasional fit of selfish independence thrown in for good measure.

A pair of similar three-note rhythms (dotted-eighth, eighth, dotted-eighth; and dotted-eighth, dotted-eighth, eighth) drive the exposition of Elbow Room motivically. While these rhythms can be difficult to differentiate at a fast tempo, the part for the second marimbist is set up in a way that requires the first marimbist to play the rhythm synchronously exact. The result is an entertaining, catchy main theme that is pervasive through most of the piece.

Use of both sides of the keyboard highlights the middle of the piece, resulting in a contemporary chorale-like structure dominated by wide swaths of arpeggiation. The retransition to the recapitulation contains a pop culture reference waiting for someone to find it.


The Problem with This German


PDF score

Use the audio player above to hear the premiere performance of the piece. For a video of the award-winning performance, click here.

›› Update: I am pleased to announce that this work is the recipient of the Honorable Mention citation for The American Prize in 2016.

Synopsis

A college freshman voice student is required to learn and perform a song from a fictitious German opera that is set in the ancient British Isles during the time of the Saxon Conquest of the Vikings. At this moment in the story, the Nordic leader of his village realizes the implication of an impending invasion after he catches a Saxon scout. The Viking prays to God, moving quickly through stages of denial, anger, and reaction, ultimately ending in his decision to slay the German scout. (Historical note: at this point, the Nordic occupants of the British Isles had been converted to Christianity.)

As the song ends, the scene freezes and the freshman voices a lament in his inability to sing in German; indeed, he does not understand why he has to learn to sing in a foreign language at all. The freshman attempts to sing the lied but renders such a poor pronunciation that the Viking unfreezes, breaking character and crying in anguish over the shoddy attempt to sing his recitative-aria. “Il Divo” (the masculine form of the Italian “Diva”) guides the young man through a humorous lesson in German diction and why the song should be sung in German. Eventually, the freshman is won over, becoming so caught up in the excitement that he picks up the weapon to slay the invader at the conclusion.