new(er) counterpoint has a long history. I wrote the first version, new counterpoint, for Dr. Cristina Ballatori's flute choir after being changed by Steve Reich's music in the summer of summer of 2012. The piece was premiered first in October 2012. The next version for strings and marimba quartet was premiered in 2014, and the following version for saxophone choir was premiered in 2015. The most recent version for clarinet choir was composed for my wife, Iris Gracia Campbell, and was premiered at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in February 2016. The solo clarinet version received its premiere by Dr. Jonathan Guist in May 2016.
The first version of new(er) counterpoint was completed in 2012 after listening to the counterpoint pieces of Steve Reich. His works, primarily Vermont Counterpoint and New York Counterpoint helped conceive the idea for a flute choir work. I talked to Dr. Cristina Ballatori about the possibility of having her ensemble perform a new work in the Fall semester. She agreed, and I rehearsed and conducted the piece until the premiere in October 2012. The second version of the piece came about when I was talking to (then) director of strings and orchestra Dr. Martha Placeres about writing pieces for a new type of mixed ensemble. The ensemble consisted of marimba quartet and strings, and would be called Strimba. I built on the instrumentation (since I had more parts to write for - from 8 to 13 different parts), and included 16th note swells in the second movement to capture the Reich aesthetic a bit more. The piece received its premiere in November 2014. (I played one of the marimba parts.) The third version of the piece was composed for Benjamin Rovelo. (He also played Monologue (to student loans) in my undergrad composition recital.) I thinned out the instrumentation a bit. I changed some of the octaves to fit the range of the saxophone family. The fourth version was composed for clarinet choir or soloist with pre-recorded accompaniment. I wrote the piece with Iris in mind. Don't I always? The first public performance of the clarinet choir version was given by Dr. Jonathan Guist's incredible ensemble. I conducted and rehearsed the group while he played the solo part and his students played the other ten parts. Once again, I conducted what I like to call the 'premiere' of the clarinet choir version at the 2016 Texas Music Educator's Conference in San Antonio, Tx on February 12, 2016. A few weeks later when planning my undergraduate composition recital, I asked Dr. Guist if he would want to perform the solo version. He was up for the task of recording each part. I was up for editing every track to make it sound as good as I could. We agreed to record the tracks and perform them on my recital. new(er) counterpoint [soloist+pre-recorded accompaniment] received its world premiere on May 4, 2016 at my undergraduate composition recital. I look to conduct the UTRGV Brownsville Clarinet Choir at ClarinetFest 2016 in the national premiere of the piece. I can't thank the aforementioned people enough for helping evolve new(er) counterpoint to what it is today.
NOTE: I made the saxophone and clarinet versions around the same time, so I created them with eleven parts to compliment Jonathan Russel's Eleven and Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint. Even though they were adapted at the same time, the pieces are almost strikingly different through use of orchestration. The saxophone version is more closely voiced, and does not have all the swells in the second movement. The clarinet version is more openly voiced, and contains all the individual swells in the second movement. These changes are deliberate, as I did not want a carbon copy for different instruments. In my opinion, each version of the piece is unique and should be thought of that way.
new counterpoint [flute choir]: 2 piccolos, 4 flutes, alto flute, bass flute
new counterpoint [strings and marimba quartet]: violin 1 (div), violin 2 (div), viola (div), cello (div), double bass, 4 marimbas
new(er) counterpoint [saxophone choir]: solo alto saxophone, 2 soprano saxes, 4 alto saxes, 2 tenor saxes, baritone sax, bass sax
new(er) counterpoint [clarinet choir]: solo B-flat clarinet, 7 B-flat clarinets, 2 bass clarinets, contrabass clarinet