Axius, from the greek for “black, or dark water,” is a river mentioned in Homer’s Iliad. The imagery of this ancient body of “dark water” seemed like a fitting description of the overall mood and flow of the piece’s formal architecture. The oboe is the lyrical narrator and the electronics (both fixed and interactive) support its journey through the “dark waters.”

The piece opens with material that is carefree and dance-like, interacting with live electronic manipulations. The mood gradually shifts to one of introspection and is further weighted by a low chorale, which sets the lyrical oboe in stark contrast. As the chorale fades away, the oboe returns to a state of deep introspection. This moment of repose is juxtaposed with an explosive outburst of synthesized gestures, as the oboe comments in sweeping melody. After an intense climax, the oboe returns to a state of inward reflection but is “washed” of electronic manipulation and resumes its poignant, lyric melancholy over the return of the rich, sonorous, and “dark” chorale.

Score Sample




8 minutes


Interactive Electronics


November 13, 2011
Rose Recital Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Alexander Vvedenskiy (ob.), Luke Carlson (computer)


Winner, 2012 Hilda K. Nitzsche Prize