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Reflection on a Memorial (2020)

for String Orchestra

Composed August - September 2020

Commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra


Scored for String Orchestra (min. 6/6/4/4/2).

9 - 10 Minutes



Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Lawrence Loh conducting - November 11, 2020

Subsequent performances:

Manhattan School of Music String Chamber Orchestra; Kyle Ritenauer conducting  - December 9, 2020

West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Lawrence Loh conducting  - January 27, 2021

New England Conservatory Philharmonia; Tristan Rais-Sherman conducting - February 12, 2021

The Syracuse Orchestra; Lawrence Loh conducting - April 10, 2021

South Bend Symphony Orchestra; Alastair Willis conducting - May 8, 2021

San Francisco Symphony; Edwin Outwater conducting - July 2/4, 2021

Akron Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Wilkins conducting - July 9, 2021

Mesquite Symphony Orchestra; Felix Torres conducting - September 11, 2021

Experiential Orchestra; James Blachly conducting - October 2, 2021

Harmonia Orchestra; William White conducting - February 5, 2022

The Symphonia; Alastair Willis conducting - April 24, 2022

Symphony San Jose; Tito Muñoz conducting - June 4/5, 2022

Arizona State University Chamber Orchestra; Joseph Sieber conducting - February 27, 2023

One Found Sound - March 4, 2023

Hartt Orchestra; Edward Cumming conducting - March 24, 2023

Orchestra of New Spain; Grover Wilkins III conducting - June 15/17/18, 2023

Program Note:

Reflection on a Memorial’ contemplates the passing of a person or a tragic event and meditates on this idea. In the composition, the listener experiences grief and mourning at first as we ponder and think deeply about events past, and at a brief moment in the climax, an enlightening moment that can be seen as light through darkness and a spark of hope. 


The composition is scored for string orchestra and begins with a soli for the viola section. I chose the viola section to begin this piece because of the mournful and singing character of the instrument’s sound. Also prominently featured throughout the composition are the voices of the solo violin and cello, which almost take on narrative roles; at the end, a solo cello reprises the viola line heard the beginning as a final mournful statement.


There are 4 distinct sections in the piece: a somber, melancholy beginning, then a faster, tragic outburst of grief, followed by a calmer reflective passage, which feature hopeful yet intense chords that build up to a light infused climax. This is all brought together with a coda that is a faint memory of an earlier section of the piece, which becomes distant and fades into the abyss.


Another one of my ‘open interpretation’ compositions, this piece can be used to commemorate any event or person, so that it may be performed in a variety of situations.

For score and part rental:

NYC Music Services

Reflection on a Memorial - Tristan Rais-Sherman; New England Consevatory Philharmonia
00:00 / 00:00
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