Cold Harbor: A spatial composition for double chorus and orchestra

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

First Committee Member

Dennis Kam - Committee Chair


Cold Harbor is a spatially oriented composition for double chorus and orchestra in four movements, and is approximately 22 minutes in duration. The work uses various compositional techniques to create a dramatic narrative of the Civil War battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia on June 3, 1864. One of the most important characteristics of the work is the layout of the performers, who completely surround the audience. The four groups employed are divided into two instrumental and two vocal ensembles. The intended effect is for the listener to literally sense that he or she is in the middle of the conflict. Another primary characteristic of the work is the aesthetic idea of conflict, both physical and musical. The spatial layout creates the physical element, with contrasting types of instrumental forces placed in opposition to one another and with the two choruses facing each other. Musically, a number of compositional methods are employed to create conflict between the various groups. The text for the work is based on actual songs and poetry from the Civil War period.


History, United States; Music

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text