Compositions

Alice in Wonderland for chamber orchestra (2013-14) notes»

Chiaroscuro for solo piano (2013) notes»

Album Leaf for horn and piano (2013) notes»

(200)(200) for electronics (2013) notes»

Perception for double string quintet (2013) notes»

Six Inventions for percussion ensemble (2013)

Armageddon and Other Bedtime Stories for string quartet (2013)

Sinfonia for orchestra (2013)

Faces of the Sun for horn, violin, and piano (2013) notes»

Piano Concerto No.1, Homage to “Jupiter” (2012) notes»

Streams of Consciousness for solo piano (2012)

Rêves Étranges for two violins (2012)

Labyrinth Theorem for solo cello (2012) notes»

You Are for flute (doubling bass flute), cello, and piano (2012) more»

Edifice in the Clouds for flute, violin, and cello (2012) notes»

Piano Trio No.1 (2011-2012) notes»

Frozen Red Sky for cello and piano (2011)

2012 Young Masters Competition  more»

Video not available

String Quartet No. 1 (2010-2011)

Finestra for string orchestra (2011)

Performances by the Dallas, Texas Booker T. Washington School High School for the Performing Arts–conducted by Chase Dobson.

  • January 21, 2012 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas
  • April 2012, at BTW HS Grand Concert
  • May 5, 2012 at Carnegie Hall in New York

I Graceful Shadows, II Blaze, III A Tree


notes»

Five Sketches for solo piano (2011)

A Tunnel for solo piano (2010)

Three Cosmos for solo piano (2010)

Peace for solo cello (2010)

Fantasy in B-flat major for flute and piano (2010)

Metamorphosis for brass quintet (2010)

More to come soon!

Chase’s first full-length story ballet, Alice is a two-act, approximately hour-long composition scored for flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, double bass, percussion, and piano.

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In visual art, chiaroscuro describes a technique involving strong contrasts between light and dark. I contrasted light and dark in elements such as texture, timbre, and sonority. The form imitates contrast, featuring a dissonant, driving section, followed by a more lyrical, sweeping section. The end reflects the darkness of the beginning in a different light, as it slows into a murky conclusion.

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A commission for the wedding of Ann Shoemaker and Clay Garrett.

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This was Chase’s last project at the Tanglewood Institute, which was to be for electronic media alone.  For this piece, he recorded and modified the voices of two fellow composition students, Benjamin Walter and Jack Gulielmetti.

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Perception explores two musical ideas, which in execution seem mostly unrelated.  As the piece unfolds, these ideas interact with each other in different contexts, until the relationships between them become clearer until they become inseparable.   Sonically, these ideas are set against each other using the separation of the ensemble into two distinct groups.  These groups oppose each other, developing the two ideas as two points of view would be developed in a debate.

Chase composed Perception while studying at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for the summer.  It was performed twice: it was premiered at the Honors Recital which featured the top works and performances from each program of study at the Institute; it received a second performance the next day at the program’s composition recital.

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Eternal Dance

The Sun Breaks

A New Day, Go and Hurry

The Moon Watches

She Urges You On

You Heed Her Warning

In a Mad Scramble

To The Day’s End

Eternal Dance

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Everything is dark and timeless at the start.  There’s no sunlight, there’s not much of anything except night and the moon and eternity.  Then the day starts, and there’s this really beautiful moment when, suddenly, from nothing comes everything.  And it’s all very peaceful and tranquil for a moment, everything suspended nicely in clean white light.  Then the sun rises higher, and a day begins.  The moon is still there, leaving the sky, but still definitively there.

So the day goes on, and as the day goes on, there’s this sense of nagging urgency.  One begins to realize that the day will not last forever.  The moon, about to disappear on the horizon, promises its imminent return, as something of a warning.  Meanwhile, the sun continues to travel across the sky, and there’s this sense of nagging urgency.  As the sun starts to descend from its peak in the sky, everything starts to happen a bit more quickly.

The day as it has existed begins to slide away, and the sunset is coming soon.  The moon is coming with it just the same.  The sun dips lower on the horizon, and the coming of night brings about desperation.  The sun dips lower still, until it touches.  The moon shows its face again, as promised earlier.  Then there’s a moment where everything is still, and suspended in a warm, comforting light, all at once orange and pink and blue and purple.  And as the sun leaves the sky, there’s another beautiful moment where everything transforms back into nothing.  And then everything is dark and timeless, and there’s not much of anything except night and the moon and eternity.

Faces of the Sun is about that, and also about how life is a lot like that, in that it starts from eternity, and eternity becomes life, and life collapses into eternity.  It also muses on how, just as day and night are related by the constant presence of and impact of energy from the sun, eternity and everything besides life is impacted, if only slightly, by our own lives, and the things we do during our lives.

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A piano concerto in three movements (I; II: Romanza; III). The concerto is a tribute to Mozart and his 41st Symphony, the Jupiter Symphony.Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5

Vox Novus put out a call for scores of one-minute solo cello music.  Labyrinth Theorem was chosen for performance at a concert in New York by cellist Suzanne Mueller. Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5


This piece is the result of a summer composition camp at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.  The week started with faculty members at Cornish demonstrating extended techniques on the instruments for the students.

Then, the piece began with Chase thinking about an autobiographical piece titled “I Am”.  Realizing he was not complete, he observed the students around him and wondered what each of them were, and thus the title “You Are”. Finally, “You Are” took its final form in terms of complete acceptance of those around him without judgement.

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I. Surreality, II. Ice, III. Figures, IV. Suspend, V. Beams, VI. Truth

Edifice in the Clouds is a set of movements based on the uncertainty fog brings.  From atop a building, you see nothing but grey fog; you are blind to everything except the sounds of the city around you; surreality.  The second movement, Ice, reflects a calmer moment in that morning.  The sounds die down.  The sun makes a feeble attempt to break through the fog, but the fog remains unbroken.  In the third movement, Figures, you see something vaguely through the fog.  Panic strikes; these figures seem sinister.  The movement grows and grows, then it stops.  The fourth movement, Suspend, is a brief interlude of near silence.  The fifth movement, Beams, represents the sun cutting through the fog.  The final movement, Truth, is mysterious and haunting.  It represents the city, revealed from underneath the thick blanket of fog.  The scene remains dark, however, for some of the fog still remains.

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My first piano trio is based loosely on Greek Mythology.  Specifically, it revolves around the god Ares, and his effect on daily life.  The piece’s sound is very aggressive and warlike, and whenever there is form in the music it is altered slightly, just enough to make a significant difference.

The first movement, the Prelude, foretells events to come later in the piece.  It begins very mysteriously, as if through a fog.  The fog then clears, revealing a scene like that of the gods at war, a mood provoked by unusual harmonies and rhythms, while strangely in a waltz feel.  The second movement, The Sporting of the Gods, shows a scene of the gods in a friendly competition.

For the third movement, called The Gates of Mount Olympus, I have a very specific picture in mind.  An old, rusty gate is among some bushes.  A pathway goes through them to the top of Mount Olympus, where the gods reside.  The music begins in a very melancholy way, in mixed Dorian modes, but after a few minutes changes to a bright and sunny A Major.  This symbolizes the gates past, when they were bright and radiant, long before the gods took residence on the mount.  However, over time, the gods would go through the gates, and take some of their luster, eventually leaving them with nothing.  This is symbolized by an empty, heterophonic retelling of the beginning theme, with only the violin and cello, to represent something so empty and barren it echoes without any substance.

The fourth movement, Waltz of Ares, returns to the gods’ scene.  It begins again with the hazy, foggy texture, which instead of clearing abruptly intensifies; it becomes, instead of a light fog, a thick and fiery cloud.  This fire dims down a bit, and a hint of a melody is introduced.  This entrance represents Ares’ anger and desire for revenge.  This texture builds up to a high level of dissonance that goes into a barbaric waltz.  This waltz is marred with an occasional bar of 2/4, the product of Ares’ mischief.  After a minute or two of this disorder, the music separates into a solo piano texture, which leads into a very traditional, consonant waltz in G major.  This peace, however, doesn’t last, and eventually re-agitates into a furious fortissississimo between the three instruments.  At the end of the piece, the music almost sneaks away, ending in a very mischievous bitonality: G major and F-sharp major.

I  Prelude

II Sporting of the Gods 
III Gates of Mount Olympus

IV  Waltz of Ares

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This piece for was awarded second place in the 2012 Young Masters Competition in the Music Theory category.

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Finestra is based on not a specific piece of artwork, but an idea or recurring theme in some artwork.  An exhibit that was recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled “Rooms with a View,” featured a series of interesting paintings of scenes through windows.  While the works in Finestra are not based directly on any specific paintings at this exhibition, the listener can in a way feel as if looking through a window, detached from the scene being observed.

The three movements of Finestra represent three different scenes.  The first, “Graceful Shadows,” gives an impression of a scene at around dusk, with innocent shadows dancing around a hilly countryside.  This innocence is lost in the second movement, “Blaze”.  In this movement, which I imagine to take place very late in the night, everything is burning down and coming to a violent end.  However in the last movement, “A Tree”, the sun rises showing the last remaining innocence, somehow passed up by the all-consuming flames.

As a human being (but not at all a visual artist), I see images such as these described in my mind.  My abilities do not allow me to provide a tangible reproduction of these images.  However I am able to produce a realization of the images through my own art.

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