D Turner Matthews
D Turner Matthews
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Large Ensemble


You think like plastic shapes

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You Think Like Plastic Shapes was composed for the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Originally I composed the piece for three guitars, then decided to orchestrate the work in order to explore colors only possible through a large ensemble. Although the form of the piece was predetermined from the original composition, rethinking the music for orchestra challenged me to recompose many moments that did not have a clear relationship to orchestra such as heavily hocketed rhythms and the muting of strings. Writing for orchestra also allowed me to fill out the sound by extending harmonies, using string harmonics, and utilizing a full percussion section with metallophones. 


The Space Between The Broken Bone

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This work was composed as a concerto for Triangulus (Eli chambers, D. Turner Matthews, and Jake Schlaerth) playing my invented instruments, electronics, and The Ohio University Wind Symphony, under the direction of Andrew Trachsel. Here are my program notes on the work:

I began writing and coming up with ideas for The Space Between The Broken Bone shortly after I moved to NJ to begin my masters degree at Rutgers University. The piece’s title has some more obvious relationships to the music such as the breaking up of the ensemble and Triangulus being the space between, but it also has more personal meaning. Moving to NJ created a space between me and my hometown of 16 years, friendships that have spanned from my childhood through college, most of my immediate family, and the place that made me who I am today. This space created a new challenge in my life, but I feel it will ultimately allow me to grow, live new experiences, and strengthen who I want to become.

The Idea of splitting up the band is directly related to my instrument building. Before I wrote the piece I was thinking of how I could make the standard wind symphony into a new instrument. How could I take something that is very familiar to most people and make it into a new experience for the performers and listeners? With so much great repertoire for this specific ensemble, how can I come up with a way to set myself apart as a composer, performer, and artist? I realize this new “instrument” comes with some different challenges, but without taking these risks as musicians I fear music written for the wind symphony will become irrelevant in the current musical environment.

The music comes out of my training as a percussionist and the standard one on a part playing and independence. Also, percussionists are the farthest away from the conductor and we must often listen and interact with parts that are on the opposite side of the room. Although the music demands rhythmic accuracy and independence, it is also important to think about intonation and most of all where the individual parts fit into the texture.