Composition Department

Elliott Bark, DM 2013

Three Musical Moments

for solo violin 

Michelle Lie, violin
Performed on Feb. 14, 2009, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


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Music by Elliott Bark (b. 1980) has been performed/read by many groups and musicians, including the New York Youth Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra musicians, Indiana University Orchestra & New Music Ensemble, Zzyzx Saxophone Quartet, Kuttner String Quartet, Luna Nova Chamber Ensemble, Conductor Kevin Noe, Violinists Liana Gourdgia and Michelle Lie, Countertenor Daniel Bubeck and Saxophonist Zach Shemon. Various music festivals presented his music, such as Bowdoin International Music Festival, Midwest Composers Symposiums at Universities of Indiana (‘07), Iowa (‘08) and Michigan (‘09), North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Belvedere Chamber Music Festival, United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium and 2010 GAMMA at University of Texas at Austin.

Elliott has received numerous prizes including 2003 Korean Episcopal Church Composition Competition, 2007 Beethoven Club Composition Contest, 2008 Kuttner Quartet Composition Competition, 2009 First place for the SCI/ASCAP student commission in the Region V, 2009 First Music Commission and 2010 Bowdoin International Music Festival Composition Competition.

His Shalom for Flute and Orchestra, commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony, has received its premiere at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage) on May 23, 2010 by Flutist Alex Sopp and the orchestra under the baton of Ryan McAdams. The piece was described as …abrasive outbursts… yearning … rapturous surge… by the New York Times.

Not only as a composer, but also Elliott held positions, such as a pianist in the Republic of Korea Navy Symphonic Band, a music director of many churches and an assistant director of Indiana University New Music Ensemble. As a conductor, Elliott directs not only classic repertoires, but also devotes himself to premiering new music by many contemporary composers.

At Indiana University where he will serve as an Associate Instructor in the composition department from this coming fall, Elliott pursues doctoral degree. He has studied composition with Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Don Freund and P.Q. Phan and instrumental conducting with David Effron and Arthur Fagen.


As the title says, this composition contains three different musical moments. Each movement is built on one musical moment, has a unique characteristic and is connected to each other by attacca. In the first movement, the violin line, surrounded by orchestra, ascends independently. There is no repetition of a theme or motive, but a slow and gradual transformation of the textures.

Second movement is constructed in a different way: motivic development. The motive (C# and D) in measure 28 and influenced by pop music such as rock’n roll and techno, is repeated throughout the piece with variated forms. The motive and many other counter elements develop together using various violin techniques and meter changes.

The theme in the third movement, which starts with four repeated sixteenth note, transforms into irregular meters and accents by omissions, and the irregularity leads into a chaos at the end. The main theme (not a motive like second movement) keeps coming back with slight changes and is interrupted by drones, duple, triple and quadruples.

In terms of constructing and developing each movement, I tried not to use elements that have been used in a movement to another; each “musical moment” is generated by a unique and different source from other movements. However, in a way, the three moments are like one moment throughout the piece.