Composition Department

Paul Mortilla, Current BM Student’s always tea-time... (2017)
for orchestra

Program Notes

“...‘Yes, that’s it,’ said the Hatter with a sigh: ‘it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.’”’s always tea-time... is inspired by the chapter “A Mad Tea Party” from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The music is constantly fighting with time, much like the Hatter and Time. The absurdist, non-sensical language of the Hatter has been musically depicted with the main melody, a partial tone- row of eight pitches that complete the full aggregate with the bass line. Using this kind of consonant serialism creates a sense of saying something that can be understood but does not actually make sense. This melody is a sort of looney lament (establishing the Hatter’s woes) that is always in a struggle against Time (portrayed by clocks and the Westminster Quarters). In the end, Time prevails with the haunting “clock” from the wood blocks.


Paul Mortilla started composing at age 12 and began formal studies at the University of Miami with Scott Stinson. He is currently completing the senior year of his bachelor’s degree at the IU Jacobs School of Music, where he studies with Claude Baker. He has also studied with David Dzubay, Don Freund, Aaron Travers, and Sven-David Sandström. Mortilla is a recipient of a BMI Student Composer Award for his piece Stupor, which has been performed at Lake George Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Festival. He was a composition fellow at Tanglewood 2017, where he worked with such composers as Thomas Adès, Julian Anderson, and Michael Gandolfi, among others. Mortilla is currently writing an opera for New Voices Opera for premiere in May 2018. Aesthetically, Mortilla seeks to take the familiar and distort it over time as a form of musical surrealism. Paul also seeks to premiere works of other living composers as a conductor. He has conducted various works of his own and of many fellow composers. Mortilla also takes interests in electronic music, DJing, EDM production, video production, and other artistic outlets.