American Primitive is a composition written for wind ensemble with an instrumentation of flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, piano, and percussion. The piece is approximately twelve minutes in duration and was written September - December 2013. American Primitive is absolute music (i.e. it does not follow a specific narrative) comprising blocks of distinct, contrasting gestures which bookend a central region of delicate textural layering and minimal gestural contrast. Though three gestures (a descending interval followed by a smaller ascending interval, a dynamic swell, and a chordal "chop") were consciously employed throughout, it is the first gesture of the three that creates a sense of unification and overall coherence to the work. Additionally, the work challenges listeners' expectations of traditional wind ensemble music by featuring the trumpet as a quasi-soloist whose material is predominately inspired by transcriptions of jazz solos. This jazz-inspired material is at times mimicked and further developed by the ensemble, also often in a soloistic manner while the trumpet maintains its role throughout. This interplay of dialogue between the "soloists" and the "ensemble" further skews listeners' conceptions of traditional wind ensemble music by featuring almost every instrument in the ensemble. Though the term "American Primitive" is usually associated with the "naïve art" movement, it bears no association to the music presented in this work. Instead, the term refers to the author's own compositional attitudes, education, and aesthetic interests.
- American primitive: for wind ensemble