My creative work allows me to have my hands in a few jars at any given time. Here I’m hoping to dedicate space to major endeavors that are important to me—past, present, and future.
From The Ashes
Since my (first) coming out in 2020, I’ve gained and lost so much: friends, opportunities, loved ones, paths I once thought I would walk down, paths I never thought I would walk down. The process has been slow and tumultuous, but ultimately worth it; I am exponentially happier in myself now that I can openly claim my identity. With that confidence comes the ability and the drive to constantly redefine what that identity, and the life it warrants, looks like—how it manifests in the world.
Among the greatest impacts of this redefinition are those that extend to my interpersonal relationships. As I’ve restructured, I ultimately realized I’ve been carrying a great deal of things I can no longer take with me. I’ve begun not only to come to terms with the weight of that truth but also to turn my eyes to the present and the future, more explicitly defining and honoring the foundational relationships of all types that keep me going. Many of these relationships directly fly in the face of amatonormativity, exploring different ways to love and support others while being loved and supported in return. Though this is by no means complete, the process has been absolutely transformational.
From the Ashes is my way of speaking publicly to that process, mourning (and processing) many of the relationships I’ve lost and welcoming the positive, healthier relationships that have emerged or become more evident in the years since my coming out. The project in its initial form will be released on Bandcamp, one track per month beginning with The Dead Scar in December 2021, until I decide it is complete. Topics will likely range widely from piece to piece, and ultimately I hope to orchestrate some if not all components for live performers.
LETTING GO is an umbrella project—another informal opus like Letters—that seeks to thoroughly explore the relationship (and distance) between composer and performer as well as the interpretations and miscommunications that can be conveyed through physical scores. It began with LETTING GO (off the cliff), written for trombonist John Pisaro as a piece that would be fluid enough to allow him the freedom to transition from one distinct emotional space to another in the span of a few minutes while retaining his control over that shift. Though each piece (to date) is written for a specific instrumentation, they can be easily adapted for any performer’s or ensemble’s needs. Electronics are strongly encouraged, but the works can also be performed completely acoustically.
“A young woman walks to her car after a late-night study session. A girl stands in the front row at a concert. A man catches up with an old friend. Four women are separated after arriving at a party. In each of these situations, something goes wrong. Each of these people falls prey to the same tragedy that strikes one in five college-age women, and each one must choose how to deal with the fallout and public opinion about their sexual assault.”
Letters from the Aftermath is a collection of works begun in 2016 that aims to bring compassionate discussions of sexual assault into the concert hall. It includes electronic, acoustic, and electroacoustic works that cover a wide variety of instrumentations and ability levels. The content itself centers around text, movement, and sound, acting as an intermediary for those who relate to the events described in each piece but perhaps are not comfortable sharing their experiences with others. The works that make up Letters lend themselves well to interdisciplinary collaboration with actors and dancers, but each can also hold its own in a conventional concert hall. Letters immerses concertgoers in what it means to be a casualty of sexual assault, opening minds and facilitating the discussions that are so necessary in today’s world.
WEAKNESS (released September 4, 2020)
I never could’ve told you my first album would be a collection of love songs. I was trained as a classical(ish) composer and then as an experimental sound artist; true love songs weren’t part of my vocabulary. And yet, as COVID-19 set in and everything was bleak, I found myself constantly coming back to loves past and present, taking comfort in their familiar warmth. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) Recorded over the summer of 2020 in quarantined, socially-distanced spurts, WEAKNESS draws on traditional and experimental brass sounds, the spoken word, and field recordings spanning half a decade of important moments with lovers and loved ones. It is available for listening in full on Bandcamp.
out of the dark (released August 7, 2020)
I’ve needed a long-term home for Don’t Tell for awhile; it’s hopped around from SoundCloud to YouTube and back again, and I wasn’t happy with either destination for folks who want to just sit and listen and let the overwhelming sounds wash over them (like I do, sometimes). I began assembling out of the dark in an effort to make it a worthy home among similar pieces, and as the tracklist started coming together, I realized I’d pulled pieces that spanned two degrees, four years, and ultimately the beginning of my adulthood. Volumes are low overall, as I’ve largely opted for smaller crackly sounds, and the trauma endemic to Don’t Tell and Liar, Liar (available as a bonus track mid-album) is securely blanketed by the processing of stories/walk free, the finality of burn it, and the sheer space of this is my brain on nothing. It’s by no means a calm ride, but it’s a special one, and it’s become a great first release.
face the mirror (March 3, 2019)
How does a sexual assault—or the people you tell about it—change how you see yourself? face the mirror, a new show devised and directed by trumpeter-composer Megan DeJarnett and choreographed by Sofia Klass, explores how one woman may (or may not) keep it all together in the wake of her trauma, whether it happened yesterday or years ago. The show delves into relationships between close friends, strangers, and the self through improvised and structured moments. face the mirror is a satellite project of Letters from the Aftermath.
face the mirror premiered on March 3, 2019 at the Roy O. Disney Concert Hall at CalArts.
YOUR MOUSE GOD iS DEAD (March 3, 2018)
When I crafted my CalArts mid-residency recital, I wanted to honor the composer and performer I’ve been in the past while embracing the musician I’ve become since starting my graduate studies. Every composer on my program is alive and actively working in music, and each piece was less than five years old at the time of performance. Despite changes in my artistic preferences across the span of my musical study, my commitment to programming new works by a variety of living composers remains the same.
MOUSE GOD also marked my first foray into composing and presenting text scores: three of my own works on the concert (Your Mouse God Is Dead, CA-198, and Take What You Want) were composed entirely of text, with gestural instructions helping performers structure the timing of the pieces. As the written word is among my passions, working with text on such an intimate level allowed me to incorporate prose and poetry more closely into my creative process.
See the program of YOUR MOUSE GOD iS DEAD here.
Multifaceted (April 1, 2017)
My senior recital at Arizona State involved seventeen performers, seven pieces, and a lot of rehearsals. I selected works spanning almost the entirety of my undergraduate study and worked with some of my favorite performers at ASU. I’m also incredibly fortunate to have presented an interdisciplinary performance of Don’t Tell, the first installment of Letters from the Aftermath, in collaboration with actor Tess Galbiati.
A Thank You To My Patrons
I’m very lucky to have the freedom to make the work I enjoy the most without worrying overmuch about how I’m going to be able to afford to spend the time. I’m eternally in debt to the people who make this possible: my commissioners, who are too many to name; the folks who buy and perform my work across the country, who are quickly amounting to a small army, and the small but significant group of folks supporting me on Patreon. Many thanks especially to my Tier 3 and 4 Patrons past and present: Alex Wilson, Robin DeJarnett, Steve DeJarnett, and Jamie Perkins. I love you all!