In writing Ruins Upon Ruins, I set about creating a form that would best represent the creation/destruction cycle, but
would also provide a way of building on top of exisiting musical structures. I decided to find a way of creating a city of
music from scratch, then systematically destroying it. In this way, I could build a new city in a similar way on top of the
old one. As such, I needed to come up with symbols to describe creation and destruction in order to make this process
meaningful. The concept of creation I associated with energtic music, upward gestures, fanfares, symmetrical structures,
and most importantly a “tessellation” motive in the clarinets that begins each creation cycle (a nod to the mosaics of
ancient cities). With destruction, I assigned often opposite features: downward gestures, slower tempi, low, muddy
percussive figures, asymmetry. From time to time, fragments of the ruined city would show up in a weakened form.
Ruins Upon Ruins was composed for the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with great respect and admiration.