Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level





Robert Mueller

Committee Member

Richard Salonen

Second Committee Member

Nastassja Riley


Communication and the arts, Chamber music, Classical music, Contemporary, Weldon Kees, Original composition, Poetry, Walt Whitman


Since beginning school at the University of Arkansas in 2008 I have learned many lessons both in and outside the classroom. To date, the most challenging lessons have been those that I have learned about myself. The manifestation of the person that I am today has been an adventure with many twists and turns. This piece aims to capture the essence of some of the lessons that I have learned. Each poem offers the product of that lesson.

The movement entitled “Memories” has a subdued joy in its message. The poem offers nostalgia to begin the piece with. However, it is also a commentary on my own struggles with memory loss. The following movement, “The Musicians’ Wife,” is an exploration of relationships. While the external message may focus on the relationship with another person, the internal message is about the relationship with the self. The third movement, “The Road Not Taken,” is a poem by Robert Frost. The poem’s message is to encourage individuals to walk a different path than everyone else The fourth and fifth movement are centered around the idea of how I personally have come to learn the various lessons that life has offered. The projected message is that the most valuable lessons are those not easily learned. Finally, “O Me! O Life!” utilizes a Walt Whitman poem for the music. The poem, like the corresponding music, asks many hard questions. As it concludes the movement provides a simple and serene answer.

The music written is not to accompany each of the poems. Rather, the poems are to accompany the music. The orchestration for any performances can be any instrument in any amount per part. When performing this piece, the musicians should not be formally dressed, except for the individual reciting the poetry. If the ensemble wishes to add a visual element to the performance, they may allow individuals to wander the stage and isles and pose pensively to further the reflective mood.

Included in

Composition Commons