Henry Ross Wixon’s compositions have been heard at universities, music festivals, and concert series in the United States, Brazil, Germany, and Italy. Recent performances include "A Sudden Squall" (solo bassoon), featured on GRIT Collaborative’s July 2017 program Wind: Travelling Great Distances, and In Leviathan's Wake, premiered by the UMD Symphony Orchestra in May 2017. His latest commission, Rapid Transit (brass octet), was written for and recorded by the Illinois-based Transit Brass in June 2017. Ross has taught music courses at the University of Maryland, the Community College of Baltimore County, and Coppin State University; he currently teaches private composition lessons at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Alongside his creative pursuits, Ross is the Marketing and Programs Coordinator for Washington Revels, a DC-based arts not-for-profit dedicated to the celebration of cultural traditions. Ross holds a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Maryland, where he studied with Robert Gibson and David Froom; previously, he earned an M.M. in trumpet performance at Western Michigan University and a B.A. in music at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

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Compositions

In Leviathan's Wake (2016) for full orchestra



In Leviathan’s Wake represents my first foray into the realm of full orchestra. I wanted to craft a bold artistic statement that expanded my concepts of tension, contrast, and structure; I also hoped to write a piece that would be engaging for audiences and performers. My own path to concert music, first as a trumpet player and later as a composer, was through film scores: today, film offers many listeners their primary exposure to orchestral music; at the same time, this style relies on the gestures of the late-Romantic symphony, a repertoire that perhaps forms the pinnacle of an American orchestra’s season. In my composition, I combine a wide harmonic palette with a filmic approach to orchestration; my hope is that the film-music elements will, first, offer a framework by which the audience can interpret my contemporary language and, second, make simultaneous use of the orchestra’s strongest skill-set.


Double Quintet (2016) for combined wind and brass quintets (excerpt)



Separately, the woodwind and brass quintets are flexible ensembles, capable of astonishing virtuosity and a wide palette of timbres. Their combined force possesses the dynamic potential of a much larger group, yet retains the precision of its smaller halves; I found this identity, somewhere between chamber group and wind ensemble, to be an attractive vehicle for the extended exploration of an initial musical gesture over the course of two connected (and interconnected) movements.


Sing - sing - Music was given (2015) for SATB choir a cappella (excerpt)



Thomas Moore's poem, “Sing – sing – Music was given,” is a celebration of music's power to elevate the world's listeners, no matter how merry they may already be. I responded to his timeless images of Roman gods and goddesses with the lilting gestures of early American and English traditional musics. Under these tuneful melodies, triadic harmonies drive in unexpected directions: a combination of the familiar and the fresh.


Archi spezzati (2015/16) for string quartet (excerpt)



Archi spezzati (2015) draws its name from the late-Renaissance cori spezzati (antiphonal choirs) of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. Much like those ensembles wove their distinct sounds into one, this quartet is built on interactions between the four instruments, whether one-against-three, two-against-two, or in homorhythm. Tuneful and energetic, this five-minute whirlwind showcases the string quartet's dramatic range and ensemble precision. Performers must carefully navigate tightly voiced harmonies and textural shifts to produce the desired effect: something between a scherzo movement and a barn dance.