Miami Suite

Date of Award




Degree Name

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

First Committee Member

Ron Miller, Committee Chair


Miami Suite is a composition for large jazz ensemble that features arrangements of three original pieces from the composer's Miami era ("Tell Me Your Stories," "The Ballad is Mightier Than the Sword," and "Media Event"). A thematically connected overture and epilogue act as bookends for the work. Improvised solo interludes provide transitions between movements. The suite is further unified by musical references between movements. For example, thematic references from one movement appear as counter-themes or background material in other sections. Another important concern of this work is a flexibility of form that includes elaboration beyond the harmonic and melodic rhythms as expressed on the original lead sheets. Exposition and improvisation section are included that reflect the original songs, but motives were also developed freely in sections outside the standard chorus and variation structure. Flugelhorns, soprano voice, and extensive woodwind doubling were used to broaden the palette of standard large jazz ensemble colors. The soprano sings lyrics in "Stories" as well as wordless vocals in other sections. Performance time is approximately 35 minutes. The accompanying essay provides a history of the original songs as well as the development techniques used for the arrangements of those songs for the suite. The essay also presents a brief overview of those individuals and works that have been particularly influential to the music in Miami Suite.



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