Bored Games (two trumpets and fixed media)


Run time: approx. 7′. Written range for both trumpets: A3-Bb5. A playful, energetic jaunt of a piece (that you can take to the theatrical limit if you so desire) commissioned by Ashley Killam and Anne Linebarger. Expect both players to work hard on this one; there’s very few breaks and the high range demands are shared between the two parts.


Bored Games is a rare project in that I got to create something purely fun while involved in a long-term collaboration with two fantastic performers. When Anne Linebarger and Ashley Killam first approached me about a piece for two trumpets and fixed media, I was excited at the opportunity to do something new but worried that my newer noise-based sensibilities might steer me in a direction other than the one they hoped for. Initially, in fact, we’d thrown around very different ideas about what the piece might be and how it might unfold, but once Bored Games the concept came around, we were all pushing toward the same thing.

I found the most honest way to approach the writing was to combine the sound-based structures I’ve grown to love with the more traditional musical ideas that got me started. As a result, Bored Games became sort of an exploration of friendship and camaraderie—though taking a couple turns around your favorite gameboard might start with lots of structure and “following the rules,” so to speak, a game played with friends frequently takes on a life of its own, maintaining the spirit of the game but at times ignoring or veering away from what’s presented. The trumpet parts intertwine and are designed to ensure neither player takes the brunt of the strain. The end goal? An experience that can best be described as playing, in every sense of the word.

Notes about the score:

Bored Games is a romp through some very energetic musical lines, but due to its nature, it is a stopwatch piece. Each section is marked with a rehearsal letter and the timing at which it begins. All sections should be played at quarter=128bpm. Double bar lines without a rehearsal letter are to aid in practicing and rehearsal purposes; these are not the beginnings of new sections.

I have intentionally tried not to over-mark the score; because so much of the piece is about performer interaction, the soloists should take over much of the musical decision-making. When no direction is given, feel free to augment the piece with your own stylistic decisions.

Bored Games contains a decent amount of quick mute work. This is an ever-evolving section of the piece, as Ashley, Anne, and I are hoping to craft a performance that looks a little death-defying as each performer juggles seemingly endless mutes. Future editions of this score will have more detailed directions, but ultimately these sections will require a little more hand-eye coordination than we’re perhaps used to.

Run time: approx. 7′.

Bored Games perusal (preview before you buy!)

Known performances:

Got one I’m missing? Let me know!

  • 11/19/2023: Jacob Rushlow, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY. Watch Jacob’s performance here.
  • 9/6/2023: SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY.
  • 2022: Recorded by Ashley Killam and Carrie Blosser; featured in the Diversify the Stand podcast.
  • 1/14/2020: Ashley Killam and Anne Linebarger, University of North Carolina Charlotte (world premiere).


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