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Solos | STACY GARROP • COMPOSER

Solos

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  • KEYBOARD OF THE WINDS • 8’20” • pno

    AUDIO

    Nicholas Phillips, piano
    Impressions • Blue Griffin Recording BGR 409Purchase recording

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2015

    COMMISSIONER
    Wisconsin Music Teachers Association and MTNA

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Click to view product page

    PROGRAM NOTES
    I began hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado when I was in my early twenties. RMNP is home to some of the most gorgeous mountains in North America, encompassing 265,000 acres of wilderness, flora, and fauna. Among the park’s numerous summits is Longs Peak, a mountain that is 14,259 feet high (the highest in the region). From my earliest days of hiking, I was drawn to Longs Peak, as well as to a jagged stretch of rock formations that link Longs Peak to Pagoda Mountain (which stands at 13,497 feet). These formations are called the Keyboard of the Winds, as their thin, spindly peaks loosely suggest the splintered keys of an old, broken piano.

    One summer, I made the ascent to Pagoda Mountain using a route that took me along the right side of the Keyboard of the Winds. My hiking partner and I started up the trail in the pre-dawn hours, and the weather was stormy. Dawn had broken by the time we reached the base of the Keyboard, but its peaks were still surrounded by clouds. As we climbed higher and higher, the Keyboard’s thin spires became visible, along with the top of Pagoda Mountain. We reached the summit of Pagoda, admired the view (what we could see through the clouds), and made our descent.

    My piece is a tribute to the Keyboard of the Winds. The fast, whirling gestures depict swirling clouds, and the musical high points represent a hiker reaching the peaks of the Keyboard. I have contrasted these sections with quiet, introspective material; these embody the hiker quietly surveying the grandeur and beauty of the valley below (on a cloudless day), as well as the soaring pinnacles of Longs Peak and Pagoda Mountain overhead.
    -S.G.

  • PHOENIX RISING • 10’ • sop sax, fl, cl, or vln

    YOUTUBE AUDIO
    Christopher Creviston, saxophone
    Movement 1: Dying in embers
    Movement 2: Reborn in flames

    VIDEO
    Amanda Pond, flutes
    Movement 1: Dying in embers
    Movement 2: Reborn in flames

    YEAR COMPOSED

    2016

    COMMISSIONER
    Christopher Creviston, saxophone

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Saxophone edition • #114-41826 • $13.99 • click to order
    Clarinet edition • #114-41960 • $13.99 • click to order
    Flute edition • #114-41961 • $14.99 • click to order
    Violin edition • coming later in 2020

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Legends of the phoenix are found in stories from ancient Egypt and Greece. While each culture possesses a range of stories encompassing the phoenix myth, these tales tend to share similar traits: a sacred bird with brilliantly colored plumage and melodious call lives for typically five hundred years; then the bird dies in a nest of embers, only to be reborn among the flames. In Egyptian stories, the phoenix gathers scented wood and spices for its funeral/rebirth pyre, then collects the ashes from its earlier incarnation and flies them to the temple of the sun in Heliopolis to offer as a tribute to the sun god. In Greek myths, the phoenix was approximately the size of an eagle and was adorned with red and gold feathers; it would fly from either India or Arabia to Heliopolis to give its offering. The bird’s association with immortality and resurrection are particularly intriguing aspects of these tales, giving numerous writers (including William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling) a rich resource for their own stories.

    Phoenix Rising consists of two movements. I. Dying in embers represents an old phoenix who is settling on top of a pile of embers and breathing its last breath; II. Reborn in flames depicts the newly born phoenix getting its first taste of flight. Phoenix Rising was commissioned by saxophonist Christopher Creviston. I subsequently made arrangements for flute, clarinet, and violin.
    -S.G.
  • SANSKARA • 4’20” • hn
    YEAR COMPOSED
    1991

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Coming in 2021.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Sanskara is one of the few remaining early pieces in my catalog. My first composition teacher was a Sufi; while he and I never talked about his beliefs, I was intrigued to research Sufism while studying with him. While researching, I came across the word “sanskara.” The word means impressions that are imprinted onto a person’s soul as memories from their past lives; these impressions shape the person’s desires and actions in their current life. The ideas of reincarnation and previous actions coming to bear on someone in their next life were fascinating to my young mind, and I crafted Sanskara into a series of melodic “waves” to represent one’s past impressions.
    -S.G.
  • THE SOLITUDE OF STARS • 5’ • pno Enter description here.

    VIDEO

    Joseph Francavilla, piano

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2020

    COMMISSIONER
    Utah Arts Festival commissioned the original sextet.

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Coming later in 2020

    PROGRAM NOTES
    In 2014, I enjoyed a wonderful residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. Ucross is an artist colony that gives writers, composers, and visual artists the gift of time, space, and support to follow their artistic pursuits; we are provided with studio space, housing, and meals so that we can work almost continuously on our projects. I have been in residence at numerous artist colonies; however, nothing in my previous experiences prepared me for living in such isolated, wild country. Ucross is situated on a 20,000-acre cattle ranch at nearly 4,000 feet in elevation with fewer than 150 people living within the town. But what Clearmont lacks in population, it makes up for abundantly and spectacularly in wilderness and wildlife. I composed the sextet Postcards from Wyoming to portray three glimpses of what I found to be the most striking aspects of my residence.

    The Solitude of Stars, the third and final movement of the original sextet, was inspired by the stunning nightly display of the heavens above. Without city lights dimming the night sky, countless stars shone brightly over the vast expanse of the prairie. In 2020, I arranged the solo piano edition for my husband, Joseph Francavilla.
    -S.G.
  • STORMY, HUSKY, BRAWLING • 6’30” • bass tbn Enter description here.
    YEAR COMPOSED
    2016

    COMMISSIONER
    Sun He

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Coming in 2020 or early 2021.

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Stormy, Husky, Brawling takes its name from the 4th line of the poem Chicago, written by the American poet Carl Sandburg. Penned in 1916, the city of Chicago served at that time as the heart of the meatpacking and railroad industries. The poem’s lines mingle the dark underbelly of the city (“And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger”) with immense pride felt by its inhabitants (“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and course and strong and cunning”). As a Chicagoan myself, I find much of Sandburg’s unabashed view of the city very appealing and still relevant over a hundred years later.

    When bass trombonist Sun He commissioned me for a solo trombone piece, he mentioned his deep love for Chicago. He wrote to me in an email: “I remember the first time I walked on the street in Chicago, by the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt, and how I felt the energy of this city almost brought my blood to a boil...” His words inspired me to write a piece that conveys the beating pulse of the city, as well as its grandeur. Carl Sandburg’s poem became the perfect inspiration to tell the story of the pride Sun He and I have for Chicago.

    Sun He has dedicated Stormy, Husky, Brawling to Jane Addams and the Hull House of Chicago. Ms. Addams (1860-1935) was a distinguished sociologist, social worker, philosopher, and author, who opened the Hull House in 1889. She provided many services to immigrant families at the Hull House, including kindergarten, day care, an employment bureau, and classes in English, citizenship, music, theater, and the arts.
    -S.G.
  • TANGO GARDEL • 4’45” • pno Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Nicola Melville
    Melville's Dozen • Innova Records 691 • Purchase recording

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2007

    COMMISSIONER
    Nicola Melville


    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    110-41782 • $17.95 • performance score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.110417820 • $17.95 • performance score • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) was the most famous Argentine tango singer of his time. He had already an established performing career when in 1917 he began experimenting with the tango, which was at that time simply an instrumental form. He created the “tango-canciones.” or tango songs, in which he fashioned text to music. Audiences went wild over this new development of the tango, and Gardel spent much of the rest of his career composing and performing tango-canciones. Typically, subject matter of these songs consisted of mournful, longing ballads of love. Gardel’s life was tragically cut short in a plane crash when he was at the height of his career; his untimely death catapulted him to the status of legend in Buenos Aires and beyond.

    Tango Gardel is a tribute to Carlos. Amid dramatic flourishes, you hear Carlos’s voice, represented by a singing solo played mid-range on the piano as the music rapidly migrates through moments of rage, loneliness, and tenderness.
    -S.G.
  • TEENY TANGO • 1’10” • pno Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Excerpt performed by Amy Briggs
    Tangos for Piano • Ravello Records RR7808 • purchase recording
    Used by permission • All rights reserved

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2003

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    110-41798 • $7.99 • performance score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.110417980 • $7.99 • performance score • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    I feel a great affinity for the music of Buenos Aires based on a trip that I took to Argentina in 1999. In Teeny Tango, I wanted to encapsulate the immense drama of the tango genre within a very compact (and short) form. This piece was written for and premiered by Amy Briggs.
    -S.G.