String Quartet No.1


for quartet

8.5 minutes

Co-commissioned by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in partnership with The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Americas Society. Premiered September 2nd, 2016, by the 10 finalist groups at the Banff International String Quartet Competition

Both purely abstract and sonically concrete, this quartet explores virtuosic shifts between quickly contrasting modes of expression, while demanding a physical internalization of a dense thicket of activity. Escaping the agitation and frenzy are moments of melodic beauty, microtonal introspection, and a delicate fabric of time-suspending harmonics. 

Rolston String Quartet performs in the Canadian Commission Round at the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition (2016). More information about the competition at

near mute force


for 2 sopranos, viola, piano, drumset, (aux. perc.) + amplification

11 minutes

Commissioned by the Women's Musical Club of Toronto. Premiered April 7th, 2016, by Stephen Dann's family at the University of Toronto.

A "family-band" piece composed for my friends, the Danns, whose unique hybrid of talents (from jazz improvisation to classically trained chamber music) inspired a contemporary take on the darker undertones of lullabies as a space to give voice to parents' inner thoughts and concerns. Based on excerpts from Rivka Galchen's book Little Labors.

The phonograph


for baritone, violin, cello

10 minutes

Written during the Creative Dialogue residency in Santa Fe (run by the Sibelius Academy & Acequia Madre House). Premiered June 11th, 2014, by William Lee Bryan, Lisa Romain, and Khari Joyner in Santa Fe

Based on Rilke's text Primal Sound and a short French poem entitled inscription by Charles Cros, The Phonograph marks the remarkable moment when sound became immortal. Part story-telling, part musical reverie, this is a nostalgic nod to the rudimentary recording mechanisms of the past and the wonder they inspired.

for amplified flute, piano, cello, and tape

2 minutes

Miniature written for Ensemble Pamplemousse's BLOCKS project. Premiered April 7th, 2013 by Pamplemousse at the Firehouse Space in Brooklyn



for percussion quartet

15 minutes

Co-commissioned by San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony. Premiered March 8, 2013 by NWS' percussionists, directed by Michael Linville at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach

A piece inspired by the Montreal "casseroles" protests (aka the Maple Spring) and a reaction to the imprisonment of Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot for their gorilla performance of Punk Prayer in a Moscow Cathedral.

            Prelude-                        for singing bowl and megaphone

            Movement I-                 casseroles

            Interlude I-                    metallic resonance 1

            Movement II-                drum solo vs. bell carol

            Interlude II-                   drum improvisation

            Movement III-               metallic resonance 2 with megaphones

            Epilogue-                     conclusion



for two percussion (2 kalimbas, xylophone, and timpani)

3 minutes

Homage to my teacher, Tristan Murail, in celebration of his retirement. Premiered April 4, 2012 by Talujon at the Italian Academy in New York

Work & Day


for fl, pno, and electronics (w/ optional kinetic sound sculpture)

11 minutes

Commissioned by Electric Noise duo. Premiered March 9th, 2012 by Electric Noise at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival in Winnipeg

The first piece in a cycle I hope to compose, for instruments, electronics and interactive sculpture installations. Here, a giant tapered bellows extends from around the body of the piano to the back of the flautist across the stage, expanding and contracting over time.

*see under Interdisciplinary for more photos/documentation



photo from dress rehearsal in Winnipeg with Solomiya Moroz

photo from dress rehearsal in Winnipeg with Solomiya Moroz

for fl, ob, cl, perc, pn, vn, va, vc

9 minutes

Premiered April 9th, 2011 by Talea Ensemble, conducted by Yoshiaki Onishi at the Italian Academy in New York. Revised premiere December 3rd, 2012, by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Strange Matter

2011, rev.2012

for fl, cl, pn, vn, vc (*alternate version also available with harp instead of piano)

8 minutes

Commissioned by The Banff Centre with support by Barbara C. Poole & Family. Premiered July 2nd, 2010 under the direction of Henk Guittart at The Banff Centre 

Inspired by the mobiles of Lee Bontecou and Alexander Calder, this spatialized piece traces sound trajectories around the concert hall. The title is borrowed from a short story by Italo Calvino and translates to "The Form of Space".