Composition Components

2022
/
Opera

The Hours

Opera in Two Acts, with libretto by Greg Pierce

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Contact

Triple Concerto for Two Violins, Bass and Orchestra

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Millennium Canons (version for wind ensemble)

I wrote Millennium Canons to usher in a new millennium with fanfare, celebration and lyricism.

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2015
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Solo

Of All The Moons

I became acquainted with Marie’s Howe poetry in 2012 when I set her Annunciation as part of a large choral work.

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1996
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Solo

Canyon

The symmetrical form of this suite, a central movement flanked by toccatas and “cadences”, as well as the suite’s symmetrical key-scheme, reminded me of calling into a great chasm and waiting for the echo to come back.

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Seven Seascapes

I have always held a deep fascination for the sea and for all things maritime: the harbor sounds and smells of shipping business, the slap of waves against anchored hulls, the elegant dance of sea plants floating beneath the docks, the distant clang of bells, the taste of salty wind.

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2000
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Solo

Arches

In its alternation between “caprices” and “arias”, the work moves between the poles of virtuosity and lyricism throughout.

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2004
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Solo

Air

The opening bears a strong Baroque influence, though the simple “short-long” motive in the piano recurs incessantly throughout the movement and may have its roots in the second movement of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Le Gibet.

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1998
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Solo

Alternating Current

Alternating Current was commissioned by Young Concert Artists, Inc. for pianist Jeremy Denk and made possible through a generous grant from Ernest Levenstein.

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Trio Variations

Trio Variations was commissioned by Constance Cone as a birthday gift to her husband Mike.

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Simaku

I wrote Simaku in the summer of 1996 for the then Elm City Ensemble (now Antares) while attending the fellowship program at Tanglewood.

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Trio-Sinfonia

A couple of music critics have recently asked me whether I believe there is cultural relevancy in using old forms like the symphony and the concerto, and why do I employ these tired old forms in my work?

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Three Nocturnes

Three Nocturnes was commissioned by the Verdehr Trio and Michigan State University.

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Traveler

Traveler was commissioned by the Chamber Soloists of Austin (Texas) and premiered in April 2003.

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Ritual Protocol

Ritual Protocol was composed for Makoto Nakura, after study of ritual music in various cultures.

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Quintet

Quintet for piano and strings (affectionately titled The Red Snapper Quintet) was commissioned by Robert Freeman and members of his family in loving memory of his father, Henry Freeman (1909-97).

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Living Frescoes

Living Frescoes was inspired Bill Viola’s 2002 art installation Going Forth by Day, a series of five looped digital “frescoes” which explore themes of human existence: individuality, society, death, rebirth.

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Credo

When Daniel Ching of the Mirò Quartet asked me to write a quartet for a program he was planning exploring ‘the lighter side of America’, I wasn’t sure I could deliver.

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Lento Assai

Lento Assai was commissioned by the Cypress Quartet as part of its Call and Response commissioning project, a program through which composers write works inspired by masterpieces in the standard repertoire.

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In at the Eye

It was a great pleasure to find occasion to write once more for the bass-baritone Timothy Jones, who in 2002 premiered my first work for voice, Einstein on Mercer Street, based on the poetry of Fleda Brown.

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Four Airs

The opening bears a strong Baroque influence, though the simple “short-long” motive in the piano recurs incessantly throughout the movement and may have its roots in the second movement of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Le Gibet.

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Einstein on Mercer Street

In the summer of 2001, I talked to Fleda Brown about the idea of a project involving a set of poems written especially for use in a musical composition.

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Concerto for Oboe and Strings

My Concerto for Oboe and Strings was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra for their “Prelude” concert series.

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Canyon
1996
/
Solo
The symmetrical form of this suite, a central movement flanked by toccatas and “cadences”, as well as the suite’s symmetrical key-scheme, reminded me of calling into a great chasm and waiting for the echo to come back.
Read More
I have always held a deep fascination for the sea and for all things maritime: the harbor sounds and smells of shipping business, the slap of waves against anchored hulls, the elegant dance of sea plants floating beneath the docks, the distant clang of bells, the taste of salty wind.
Read More
Arches
2000
/
Solo
In its alternation between “caprices” and “arias”, the work moves between the poles of virtuosity and lyricism throughout.
Read More
Air
2004
/
Solo
The opening bears a strong Baroque influence, though the simple “short-long” motive in the piano recurs incessantly throughout the movement and may have its roots in the second movement of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Le Gibet.
Read More
Alternating Current was commissioned by Young Concert Artists, Inc. for pianist Jeremy Denk and made possible through a generous grant from Ernest Levenstein.
Read More
I wrote Simaku in the summer of 1996 for the then Elm City Ensemble (now Antares) while attending the fellowship program at Tanglewood.
Read More
A couple of music critics have recently asked me whether I believe there is cultural relevancy in using old forms like the symphony and the concerto, and why do I employ these tired old forms in my work?
Read More
Quintet for piano and strings (affectionately titled The Red Snapper Quintet) was commissioned by Robert Freeman and members of his family in loving memory of his father, Henry Freeman (1909-97).
Read More
Living Frescoes was inspired Bill Viola’s 2002 art installation Going Forth by Day, a series of five looped digital “frescoes” which explore themes of human existence: individuality, society, death, rebirth.
Read More
When Daniel Ching of the Mirò Quartet asked me to write a quartet for a program he was planning exploring ‘the lighter side of America’, I wasn’t sure I could deliver.
Read More
Lento Assai was commissioned by the Cypress Quartet as part of its Call and Response commissioning project, a program through which composers write works inspired by masterpieces in the standard repertoire.
Read More
It was a great pleasure to find occasion to write once more for the bass-baritone Timothy Jones, who in 2002 premiered my first work for voice, Einstein on Mercer Street, based on the poetry of Fleda Brown.
Read More
The opening bears a strong Baroque influence, though the simple “short-long” motive in the piano recurs incessantly throughout the movement and may have its roots in the second movement of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Le Gibet.
Read More
In the summer of 2001, I talked to Fleda Brown about the idea of a project involving a set of poems written especially for use in a musical composition.
Read More
ark Vigil was a reaction to the unrelenting pattern of violence that plagued our country’s elementary and high schools during the year it was written, 1999.
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Continuo was one of twenty-five fanfares commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra in 1995 and marked my first professional commission.
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Composed in the summer of 2001, And Legions Will Rise is about the power in all of us to transcend during times of tragedy and personal crisis.
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Each night on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the immense volcano Haleakala sleeps soundly by the light of moon until around three AM when several dozen tourists create an unbroken parade of headlights along the long and winding drive to the summit.
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Fleda Brown’s beautiful If I Were A Swan is a poem I had originally intended as part of my large, multi-movement choral work To Touch the Sky (Nine Songs for Unaccompanied Chorus on Texts by Women); ultimately I decided it would succeed better on its own.
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Though in 1999 or so, I wrote a short choral work for the 300th anniversary of Yale University, To Touch the Sky is my first mature attempt at writing for unaccompanied chorus.
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Almost all of my recent projects involve the transformation of a theme or melody by placing it in a variety of what could be called “expressive contexts.”
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Vision was commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University in honor of Aspen’s Music Director, David Zinman, on his 70th birthday.
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Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s performance of several works by Puts over the past few years led naturally to the idea of a residency during which the composer would write a piece for the Fort Worth Symphony.
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I decided to call my new piano concerto Night after I decided to incorporate part of an earlier piece of mine called Three Nocturnes into the fabric of the tranquil second movement.
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Immediately following her performance of the beautiful Oboe Concerto of Christopher Rouse at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in August 2016, I approached Katherine Needleman about doing a project together, and to my great delight she was enthusiastic.
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Marimba Concerto reflects my love of Mozart’s piano concertos, works with instrumentation similar to that of this concerto, i.e. a keyboard instrument with chamber orchestra.
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Bette and Joe Hirsch are longtime patrons of the annual Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California who became fans of my music when they heard my Symphony no. 2 performed at the festival in 2002.
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“Text excerpts from the letters by Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz used and reprinted by permission of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. All rights reserved.”
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My first symphony was composed in 1998-99 for the California Symphony and premiered on February 28, 1999 by the California Symphony conducted by Barry Jekowsky.
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Two Mountain Scenes was commissioned by Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the New York Philharmonic in celebration of the Festival’s 20th anniversary.
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Every year in August, an entire orchestra of dedicated musicians gathers in Santa Cruz, California to play nothing but contemporary orchestral music for two weeks.
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In the September 24, 2001 issue of The New Yorker writer Jonathan Franzen wrote, “In the space of two hours we left behind a happy era of Game Boy economics and trophy houses and entered a world of fear and vengeance.”
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Though Puts says he has since adopted a more lyrical and Romantic style, his sparkling, prismatic Network “represents the fascination I had while still a student with “minimalist” and “post- minimalist” composers
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Sometime in 2008, I received an unexpected phone call from Dale Johnson, then Artistic Director of Minnesota Opera. He was interested in commissioning an operatic adaptation of Joyeux Noel, the 2005 Christian Carion film based on the spontaneous cease-fires and celebrations which took place along the Western Front on the first Christmas Eve of World War I.
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It seems fitting that in fulfilling a commission from St. Louis, a city that sits near the confluence of our nation’s two great rivers, Kevin Puts drew inspiration from the movement of water—its glinting color and texture, its surging energy—as it courses downstream.
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"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of the sky. Thy rays, they encompass the lands…thou bindest them by thy love." Ahknaton, Hymn to the Sun
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Falling Dream was commissioned by the BMI Foundation Inc./Carlos Surinach Fund for the 25th Anniversary of the American Composers Orchestra.
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Inspiring Beethoven is a musical tale, completely imagined, of Ludwig van Beethoven finding the inspiration to compose the first movement Vivace of his Symphony No. 7.
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Silent Night is an opera in two acts by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, directed by Christian Carion and produced by Nord-Ouest Production.
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Contact

Triple Concerto for Two Violins, Bass and Orchestra

The Hours

2022
/
Opera

Opera in Two Acts, with libretto by Greg Pierce

The Brightness of Light

“Text excerpts from the letters by Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz used and reprinted by permission of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. All rights reserved.”

Moonlight (Second Concerto for Oboe and Strings)

Immediately following her performance of the beautiful Oboe Concerto of Christopher Rouse at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in August 2016, I approached Katherine Needleman about doing a project together, and to my great delight she was enthusiastic.

Elizabeth Cree

2017
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Opera

Kevin Puts and Mark Campell’s third opera collaboration, Elizabeth Cree, opened Opera Philadelphia’s 2017 season

In at the Eye

It was a great pleasure to find occasion to write once more for the bass-baritone Timothy Jones, who in 2002 premiered my first work for voice, Einstein on Mercer Street, based on the poetry of Fleda Brown.

The City

Though inspired by the city of Baltimore, The City was intended as an exploration of many aspects of urban centers in America.

Of All The Moons

2015
/
Solo

I became acquainted with Marie’s Howe poetry in 2012 when I set her Annunciation as part of a large choral work.

How Wild the Sea

It seems I am always making memorials, or trying to process tragedy through my writing.

Flute Concerto

Bette and Joe Hirsch are longtime patrons of the annual Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California who became fans of my music when they heard my Symphony no. 2 performed at the festival in 2002.

Seven Seascapes

I have always held a deep fascination for the sea and for all things maritime: the harbor sounds and smells of shipping business, the slap of waves against anchored hulls, the elegant dance of sea plants floating beneath the docks, the distant clang of bells, the taste of salty wind.

To Touch the Sky

2012
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Choral

Though in 1999 or so, I wrote a short choral work for the 300th anniversary of Yale University, To Touch the Sky is my first mature attempt at writing for unaccompanied chorus.

If I Were A Swan

2012
/
Choral

Fleda Brown’s beautiful If I Were A Swan is a poem I had originally intended as part of my large, multi-movement choral work To Touch the Sky (Nine Songs for Unaccompanied Chorus on Texts by Women); ultimately I decided it would succeed better on its own.

Living Frescoes

Living Frescoes was inspired Bill Viola’s 2002 art installation Going Forth by Day, a series of five looped digital “frescoes” which explore themes of human existence: individuality, society, death, rebirth.

Silent Night

2011
/
Opera

Silent Night is an opera in two acts by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, directed by Christian Carion and produced by Nord-Ouest Production.

Clarinet Concerto

I met the extraordinary clarinetist Bil Jackson when he premiered my Four Airs at Music from Angel Fire (New Mexico) in the summer of 2004.

Lento Assai

Lento Assai was commissioned by the Cypress Quartet as part of its Call and Response commissioning project, a program through which composers write works inspired by masterpieces in the standard repertoire.

Trio Variations

Trio Variations was commissioned by Constance Cone as a birthday gift to her husband Mike.

Hymn to the Sun

2008
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Orchestral

"Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of the sky. Thy rays, they encompass the lands…thou bindest them by thy love." Ahknaton, Hymn to the Sun

Night

I decided to call my new piano concerto Night after I decided to incorporate part of an earlier piece of mine called Three Nocturnes into the fabric of the tranquil second movement.

Arcana

Each night on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the immense volcano Haleakala sleeps soundly by the light of moon until around three AM when several dozen tourists create an unbroken parade of headlights along the long and winding drive to the summit.

Symphony no. 4: from Mission San Juan

2007
/
Orchestral

Every year in August, an entire orchestra of dedicated musicians gathers in Santa Cruz, California to play nothing but contemporary orchestral music for two weeks.

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