A Dream of Dawn

Year Composed: 2014
Instrumentation: 3+picc.2+eh.2.3/ perc/hp/strings
Duration 8 minutes

Audio Excerpts (MP3)

Program Notes

A Dream of Dawn was commissioned by the New Brunswick Orchestra in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It is a work conceived in the spirit of gratitude, aiming—through music—to salute a generation of brave Canadians who gave their lives in service of their country.

Cast in a single movement, and infused throughout with a broad sense of melancholy, A Dream of Dawn is divided roughly into two sections. The first, with its arching melodies for solo oboe and horn, is suggestive of idealism, a nobility of spirit. The second, by contrast, is shrouded in the ghostly present: steeped in sorrow, occasionally racked by powerful waves of memory. The work's coda introduces a brief flair of dissonance amidst an otherwise diatonic landscape, which evaporates as suddenly as it arrives, concluding on a radiant A-flat major chord—a glimpse of an uncertain paradise.

The process of creating music out of an explicit (rather than implicit) context, particularly one of historical or political import, comes with its own unique set of challenges and responsibilities. Rather than paint a musical portrait of war, or literalize a particular chronology of events, I have strived to compliment—in meditative fashion—the reflections of those listeners pondering war in all its paradoxical facets. My goal with this piece is to recognize, through music, the horrors of human conflict, while affirming our profound search for harmony in ourselves and abroad. This is a dream we can all share.


  • July 5, 2014 - New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Delgado. Golden Hall of Musikverein, Vienna, Austria.
  • July 7, 2014 - New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (reduced), conducted by Antonio Delgado. Diplomatic Assembly of Vienna, Austria.
  • July 9, 2014 - New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Delgado. Smetana Hall, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • February 21, 2015 - New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Delgado. Moncton West End Celebration Centre, Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada).

Commissions and Awards

  • Commissioned by the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra for the 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival.

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