Nicholas Anthony Ascioti, Composer and Conductor

Music > Chamber Works

Chamber Works

(Click the title to view composer’s notes and additional information.)

Adirondack Meditation (2012)
for violin, cello, piano        ca. 6'

This piece was the third movement from the Adirondack Suite. The movement was revised for the PARMA recording CD project MOTO PERPETUO released in 2013. Since the revision, the piece has received many performances, including in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 15th 2013.

Shading (2012)
for flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, horn in F and bassoon

Shading is a brief 3 minute piece that explores the range and color of the woodwind quartet. There are several repeating motifs that weave around a rhythmically driven, stark texture. This piece includes my style of the “simultaneous conversation,” in which counterpoint is replaced by the competing linear phrases of each instrument.

Octet (2011)
for flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, 2 bassoons, harp, viola and cello

Octet is a piece that has taken on many forms while I was composing it. Sketches of this piece began in 2006, as a much larger chamber work. I revisited the sketches in late 2010 and did most of the writing in early 2011. The Octet differs from my other pieces in that there is no concept for the piece. Most of my other works are conceptual pieces. The Octet is about thirteen minutes long and is structured in three movements. Octet will be premiered in 2012.

Adirondack Suite (2007-2009)
for violin, cello and piano

This piece was premiered by the Musicians of Ma'alwyck in 2010.

As with most of my instrumental works, this Suite is based on memories and reflections of the Adirondack Park. The first movement, Storm Over the Lake, is a musical landscape of energetic and violent motifs. Characteristic of my music this movement features independent lines presented simultaneously by each instrument. This battle for dominance creates a world of thunder, lighting, and rain brewing and developing over a lake. The second movement, Child’s Play On the Beach, brings levity after the Storm. The structure of this movement allows each instrument to be featured while being frequently interrupted by small staccato motif. Mountain Meditation is the final movement and contains the most calm music in the piece. It is reflective and introspective.

Rhapsody no. 2 (2009)
for flute and harp

This piece was premiered by flautist Jan Vinci and harpist Karlinda Caldicott on February 18, 2012.

This four and a half minute piece is a follow up to Rhapsody no. 1 composed for flute and piano. Like no. 1 , this piece is based on two modal motifs that undergo a series of transformations and developments that leads to material farther removed from the original. The piece is light in nature (relative to my other works) and unlike no. 1 does utilize any extended techniques for either instrument.

Rhapsody no. 1 (2006)
for flute and piano

This piece was premiered by pianist Sylvie Beaudette and flautist Sophia Gibbs Kim.

Blue Mountain Lake (2001)
flute, trumpet in c, cello and percussion

Duration ca. 9 minutes. A highly energetic single movement piece exploiting the colors of the flute, trumpet and cello. Each instrument reflects an element that makes up this musical snapshot of the Adirondack location.

Four Memories (2000)
piano and chamber orchestra

Duration ca. 20 minutes.

I. Autumn In Old Forge
II. Stories At The Holly
III. Mist On The Pond
IV. Fourth On The Pond

Premiered April 7th, 2000 at Bennington College by the Bennington Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Magus Martensson with pianist Amy Dissanayake.

Not quite a concerto, this piece does heavily feature the piano against the chamber orchestra. Again, I use the Adirondacks as a source of inspiration for this piece. Each movement reveals a memory interpreted by music. Autumn in Old Forge is rhythmically charged piece that uses the colors of the instruments to represent the autumnal colors. When I was about seven my family and I stayed in a cabin called the Hollies (Stories At The Holly). Staying in another cabin was a older Polish couple, we were all around the campfire one evening and this couple told us of their daring struggle to get out of Poland and settle in America. Mist On The Pond represents the scene observed at 5:30 in the morning. A gentle and solid mist rises five to six feet off of the lake and if there is a slight wind the mist begins to dance. The final movement, Fourth On The Pond, is a grand celebration of the fourth of July in Old Forge.

Duration ca. 20 minutes.

Movement I
Movement II
Movement III

Premiered September 18, 1999 at Bennington College

String Quartet no. 1 was composed in 1995 when I was a student at the College of St. Rose. The score was revised in 1999 and is the version that is performed today. Subtitled The Observer, this piece has been performed as a concert piece with a quartet only and also as a visual performance piece with quartet and solo dancer.

Composed in three movements, the piece begins with a calm, sustained choral-like passage that soon turns into a high-energy competition among the instruments. This movement ends as it began in the choral-like style. Perhaps partially inspired by the works of Bartok, the second movement begins with bold pulsating rhythms that develop into a rage of dissonance and disjunctive rhythms. The movement ends with a return of the pulsating rhythms. The finale movement is a grand-chorale that returns to the simplistic nature of the opening of the first movement.

Premiered September 18, 1999 at Bennington College. Duration ca. 18 minutes.

I: Tango
II: Side Step
III: Carousel Dance
IV: Margaret’s Morning Dance
V: Dance of the Cat and Mouse
VI: Dance By the Brook

String Quartet no. 2 is a set of six dance pieces, which I composed as a student at Bennington College. This piece was composed to be both technically challenging and enjoyable for the musicians. Each dance serves as a personal homage to some of my influences and memories.

The first dance, Tango, is a seductive, over-exaggerated observance of the Argentine dance. This movement also calls for some the instruments to be used in a percussive manner.

Side Step is a combination of rhythms from country barn dances.

Carousel Dance was inspired by the carousel at the Carousel Mall found in Syracuse, NY. It is a fanciful dance, danced by the carousel horses.

Margaret’s Morning Dance is one of many musical acknowledgments to my collegiate mentor, Dr. Margaret Scheppach. Without fail Dr. Scheppach would arrive to the early theory class with a contagious enthusiasm for music.

Dance of The Cat & Mouse was inspired by the theme song to one of my favorite childhood cartoons: Tom (cat) & Jerry (mouse). The main motive to the theme song is woven throughout the movement.

Dance By The Brook is inspired by a theme found in Stravinsky’s L'histoire du soldat.

Muir Erreon (1997)
flute, tenor saxophone, horn, viola, cello, percussion, piano and narration tap

Duration ca. 15 minutes.

I. At The Ferry Station
II. Boarding The Ferry
III. a. Harbor b. On The Sea
IV. Arriving At Dublin

Premiered May 1, 1997 at the College of Saint Rose by Justin Kolb and members of the Albany Symphony.

Muir Erreon is inspired by a trip I took to England and Ireland. After being delayed for ten hours our ferry finally departed from Whales to Dublin. The weather did not cooperate and turned a four hour ride into a seven hour trip.

Judge, Jury, and Executioner (1996)
two solo voices and large chamber ensemble

Duration ca. 7 minutes.

Commissioned by conductor David Allen Miller.

Premiered Oct0ber 19, 1996 at Schenectady Community College by Dogs of Desire conducted by David Alan Miller.

At the age of twenty-one, I received my first professional commission from conductor David Allen Miller (Albany Symphony Orchestra). Maestro Miller commissioned me to write a piece for the Dogs of Desire, a new music chamber ensemble. Judge, Jury, and Executioner is the last seven minutes of a criminal’s life before being sent to the electric chair. In addition to composing the music I also wrote the text.

Duration ca. 20 minutes.

Movement I
Movement II
Movement III

Premiered May 18, 1996 at the College of Saint Rose by the St. Cecilia

A student piece, composed in 1995 while I attended the College of Saint Rose. The performance of this original score included interpretive dance by a solo dancer. The original concept was music and dance that interpreted a life cycle. A revised addition was composed in 1999.