Dance For the Departed, for Trumpet and Electronics, was composed for Andy Kozar during the summer and fall of 2015. The composition grew from an early idea that I had for one of a series of pieces (which are still in progress) for the bassist and composer Scott Worthington. Dance For the Departed is essentially a waltz, and is a remembrance of, and homage to, three close friends and musical colleagues who unfortunately passed away this year: composer William Thomas McKinley, composer Robert Ceely, and harpist Susan Allen. All three were wonderful colleagues, friends, and terrific musicians who helped shape my musical thinking.
Dance For the Departed alludes to each of them: Tom, in addition to being a great teacher (at New England Conservatory), was a terrific pianist and improviser (this piece is meant to have an improvisatory aura); Bob started out as a jazz trumpet player, became a composer, and was an electronic music pioneer, (and also taught at New England Conservatory); and Susie, as a harpist, improviser, faculty member, and assistant dean of music for the California Institute for the Arts, was a fearless proponent and ambassador for contemporary music.