Consciousness (2004) is the earliest piece I wrote that I still consider part of my portfolio. As a freshman in college, I decided to perform an experiment in thematic development: would it be possible for me to improvise a fully fleshed short work from start to finish on the spot? During one practice session on the piano, I turned on a tape recorder, played for exactly 3 minutes, turned off the tape recorder, and then notated exactly what I had played with zero edits or revisions. 13+ years later, I’d say I’m still pleased with the result.
Because this work began as an improvisation—a stream of consciousness, if you will—I’ve left many parameters in the score open to interpretation. Any dynamics, pedal markings, tempo shifts, etc. are left entirely in the hands of the performer. My hope is that this piece is never performed the exact same way twice, so that the spirit of improvisation stays fresh on each listening.