2016 - SATB Choir, String Orchestra - [15:00]
Starmount Vespers is an oratorio-style composition for SATB choir and string orchestra on the subjects of cyclicity and self-similarity. Cyclical phenomena are widespread in the natural world (day and night, sleeping and waking, seasons, tides, etc.) and occur on many structural levels. Starmount Vespers seeks to exemplify these harmonious relationships in both text and music, drawing influence from other cyclical works (such as Orff's Carmina Burana and Vivaldi's Gloria), the Prouhet-Thue-Morse sequence, and the compositional approaches of Danish composer Per Nørgård. Nørgård's third symphony, in particular, is a mature representation of his melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic self-similar structures and informed much of Starmount Vespers' composition.
The texts were selected from the poetry of Thomas Hardy, H.P. Nichols, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and were adapted by the composer to better fit the narrative. The resulting fifteen-minute composition both delivers a textual narrative on self-similarity and, through fractal patterns embedded in the musical parameters, embodies the text.
Over the Wing
2014 - String Orchestra [7:00]
"...a very attractive seven-minute essay for strings...that begins with a lot of energy and excitement and manages to sustain both plus considerable listener interest for its duration."
-John W. Lambert, CVNC
"...Ash Stemke’s Over the Wing soared with such lift and polyphonic beauty that one wanted to hear it again."
-Steven Kruger, New York Arts
Commissioned by the UNC Lab Orchestra, Vincent L. Povázsay, conductor as a concert opener for the April 13, 2014 concert in Chapel Hill, NC.
Read the full concert reviews here:
2013, rev. 2015 - Symphonic Orchestra - [6:00]
Senior Honors Thesis - Highest Honors - UNC-Chapel Hill
Barú Nocturne was composed as Ash's senior honors thesis project at UNC-Chapel Hill, under the advising and mentorship of Dr. Allen Anderson, Dr. Stephen Anderson, and Professor Tonu Kalam. In spring 2013, it was awarded Highest Honors and the Thelma Thompson Composition Award .
Compositionally, Barú Nocturne uses a twelve-tone row although the whole composition does not strictly follow the 12-tone technique. Instead, the row was used to make various compositional decisions throughout the writing process to unify the different sections of the work.
The Row: Eb-Gb-D-Ab-C-Db-B-G-Bb-E-F-A