Spacious Euphony

Year of composition: 2016
Instrumentation: orchestra
Duration: 13’30

Written under the aegis of NYO Canada’s RBC Foundation Composer-in-Residence program , with support from the Canada Council for the Arts

Premiere: NYO Canada, Perry So, cond.
Bélem Cultural Centre, Lisbon
July 28, 2016

Score excerpt


This work, subtitled a ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ and uniquely conceived for the special energies of NYO Canada, is in equal measure virtuosic and multivalent–nearly every instrument or instrumental grouping in the orchestra receives soloistic treatment over the course of the piece, with occasional mixed soloist combinations arising in the manner of a concerto grosso. The primary musical material is founded upon an array of triads in perpetual chromatic motion that I project across musical space over the course of the piece, which takes the shape of a vast arch spanning much of the work’s duration and throughout which the triadic array appears in a close-knit form, gradually expands to the outer reaches of instrumental register, and eventually contracts to its original spacing. This approach came to serve as a vehicle to explore the NYO Canada orchestra from within: what instruments are best suited to certain registers and voicings? How can instrumental blend be maximized across musical space? Can the orchestra itself serve as a form-bearing dimension?

The name Spacious Euphony alludes to the recent theoretical treatise of Richard Cohn, Audacious Euphony: Chromatic Harmony and the Triad’s Second Nature, which explores the unique voice-leading properties of triads as exemplified in chromatic tonal music of the 19th century. The work was written under the aegis of NYO Canada’s RBC Composer-in-Residence program, with support from the Canada Council of the Arts.


-second prize winner, 2017 Prix Collégien de Musique Contemporaine
-broadcast on CBC Radio 2’s ‘In Concert’, September 11, 2016
-broadcast on BBC Radio 3, July 3, 2017
-commercially released on NYO Canada’s CD ‘Lisboa 2016: Excerpts from the 2016 TD Tour to Portugal

NYO Canada, Perry So, cond.
Koerner Hall, Toronto
Aug. 11, 2016

Esprit Orchestra, Alex Pauk, cond.
Oct. 15, 2017