Ataraxia for Concert Band

(2018) for Concert Band.

Commissioned by Chase the Music for the Standley Lake High School Band in Westminster, CO under the direction of Carissa Duran. The piece was premiered in February of 2018.


Description and Program Note:

Ataraxia is a somber, yet heroic, Grade 3.5 composition for concert band. It features tight syncopation, interesting modulations, exciting percussion, and sectional independence.

Ataraxia is a fantasia on a theme written for Jack Knight. Jack is a high school junior with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It starts with a large brass chorale, explores several ideas and wraps up with a heroic statement of Jack’s Theme. It ends with a crushingly loud sonority played in unison rhythm across the band as a triumphant celebration of Jack’s spirit.

The title, Ataraxia, symbolizes Jack’s equanimity in the face of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the Knight family’s search for peace. No child should have to face the endless medical interventions and challenges that Jack has experienced. The ever-shifting tonal and musical landscape in Ataraxia is similar to the rapid and devastating changes Jack has faced in his life and body.

Though this music is more like an action movie (Jack does LOVE Star Wars after all), the definition of ataraxia is, “A state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquility.” The music treats the term as a process. By the end the listener, and Jack, have achieved ataraxia.

Demos and Recordings

In this embedded music player you will find a demo of Ataraxia and recordings of live performances (as the become available). The demo is a MIDI realization.