BELTWAY 8 (2016) - for orchestra

Awards: Finalist, BMI Student Composition Competition


Reading: American Composers' Orchestra Jazz Composers' Institute Reading Session - June 16th, 2016


Duration:  ca. 9 min


Program Note:


Beltway 8 is the superhighway that encircles the city Houston – it is the route where people can either avoid Houston or enter through it via a maze of connected highways. This piece captures the imagery of the highway on a busy day, full of reckless drivers – rollicking drumset figures and wind lines – and the occasional traffic jam – the slower section of the middle of the piece. Beltway 8 was revised from an earlier work of mine entitled Old Seven Mile, named after the Seven-Mile Bridge in the Florida Key, which inspired the work. This piece was composed for the American Composers’ Orchestra Jazz Composers’ Institute and Readings, an initiative to create jazz-influenced works for orchestra. After an intensive workshop of the piece at the institute and readings, I decided to revise the work and change its associated imagery. Hearing the work live invoked a feeling of chaos and activity – recalling, for me, images of the “Spaghetti Bowl” of Houston highways. I changed the orchestration, took out some sections, and reworked the piece with these new images in mind.