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New Album “This Place” Out Now!

Available to stream here.

As I Heard When I Was Young



String Quintet

Maia Jasper White, violin I

Kevin Kumar, violin II

Meredith Crawford, viola

Yoshika Masuda, cello

Ted Botsford, contrabass

As I Heard When I Was Young is based on the free-form instrumental and acapella gospel blues music that I heard in churches and at home when I was a child. The music I heard during this time was often highly ornamented, had a flexible yet tightly coordinated pulse among its perfomers, and was both melodically and harmonically dense. In this piece, these characteristics of gospel blues music are also integrated with melodic elements from Malian blues guitar music, Dagomba
flute, mucin of Northern Ghana, and the flute and percussion music of the Haha tribe of Morocco, which I began listening to as an adult. The majority of the piece is written in cycles of 11 or 7 beats which is not typical of the musical traditions mentioned above. The piece highlights the deep roots of my black American gospel blues music as it relates to my personal experience, as well as my current compositional work that aims to bring diverse musical cultures together.

The recording of this track was made possible by the generous
support of June and Simon Li.

Recording Engineer – Matt Snyder, Allegro Recording
Mixing, Editing, and Mastering – lan A. Smith

Harp Hymnal

Jacqueline Marshall, Solo Harp


Jacqueline Marshall, solo harp

Derrick Skye, electronics

Harp Hymnal is a piece that navigates the connections between electronic music, beat making, Western classical music, West African music, and Indian classical music. Harp Hymnal is written in three sections. The first section begins with solo harp and drone, influenced by kora music from West Africa, as well as heavy beats found in trap music, ambient timbres found in electronic music, and features an 808 bass drum. The processed vocals are used not for textual meaning but rather for their rhythmic phrasing. The second section is more meditative and based on breathing, heard in the cyclical inhale and exhale of the electronics. This section features many tihais (a rhythmic cadence found in Indian classical music in which a phrase is repeated three times in an overlapping meter, where the last note of the third repeat resolves to beat one of the cycle). This section can be heard as a sonic chant or mantra. The third section has a steady groove with a looped bass line in cycles of 6 beats. This section also features many tihais as well as moras (a rhythmic cadential phrase in Carnatic classical music) and the harp is influenced by West African kora music.

Recording Engineer – Ian A. Smith

Editing, Mixing, and Mastering – Ian A. Smith   

Special thanks to my mentors Kobla Ladzekpo, Dzidzogbe Beatrice Lawluvi, Yeko Ladzekpo-Cole, Pirayeh Pourafar, Swapan Chaudhuri, Tzvetanka Varimezova, Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, Ian Krouse.

Additional special thanks to Mount Saint Mary’s University Music Department – Dr. Therese Fassnacht and to all my family and friends!

Album Notes by Dr. Kim Nguyen Tran and Derrick Skye

Artistician Inc

Photo Credit – Hannah Arista Photography 

Jacket Design – Audrey Knight

This Place

music composed by Derrick Skye

Executive Producers

Derrick Skye and Dr. Kim Nguyen Tran


Ian A. Smith

Madeline Barrett

Cantori New York, Mark Shapiro, Artistic Director and Conductor

Every Voice Concert Choir, Dr. Nicole Becker, Artistic Director and Conductor

Jacqueline Marshall

Blake Pouliot

Associate Producer

Madison Dorsett

god of the gaps

Blake Pouliot, Solo Violin


Blake Pouliot, solo violin

Derrick Skye, electronics

Priayeh Pourafar, tar

god of the gaps is a piece that navigates the connections between Persian classical music, West African music, Western classical music, and experimental electronic music. The form of the piece is built on guided improvisation. Persian classical music uses unfixed quarter tone flat pitches called Koron. In god of the gaps, you will hear an E Koron in the Darâmad of Dastaâh-e Shur, the Chahârmezrab of Dastgäh-e Shur and the Darâmad of Avâz-e Esfahân. god of the gaps begins with the Daramad of Dastaah-e shur. When the cyclical rhythm picks up in the piece, this is a combination or Chahârmezrab of Dastaâh-e Shur
and a fast Atsia from Eve music of the Eve people in Ghana, West Africa. When the rhythm dissipates we move into Darâmad of Avâz-e Esfahân. Here we navigate free flowing motifs at phrases found in both Western classical music and Persian classical music. god of the gaps ends in Dastgâh-e Mâhur. The title god of the gaps refers to humanity’s application of deification to explain the gaps in our understanding of the environment around us. The performance approach of unmetered cells without a pulse was inspired by the piece Retuning by Ann Southam.

Recording Engineer – Derrick Skye, Mount Saint Mary’s University Music Recording Studio

Editor – Derrick Skye

Mixing and Mastering – Ian A. Smith

Neither Separated, Nor Undone

Anthems of a Crowd 6

Cantori New York – Mark Shapiro, Conductor + Every Voice Concert Choir – Dr. Nicole Becker, Conductor + Bridge To Everywhere – Derrick Skye, Conductor


SATB Choir + Children’s Choir + Chamber Orchestra

Neither Separated, Nor Undone navigates the complexities of shifting and at times contradictory opinions an individual may hold over the course of their lifetime. The piece is influenced by rhythmic phrases found in music of the Eʋe people of Ghana, compound meters found in Eastern European folk music and the radif system in Persian classical music. From Persian classical music in particular, the piece uses the Darâmad, Gushe Goshâyesh, and Gushe Dâd of Dastgâh-e Mâhur. Inspired by techniques found in 16th century vocal polyphony, words and syllables from the text, written by Skye, are reconfigured to create different meanings as syllables are rearranged. The cyclical patterns that emerge can be thought of as mantras with elements of call and response.

Solos Featuring                        Nikki Shorts, viola

Rachel Mellis, flute                 Michelle Elliott Rearick, cello

Doori Na, violin I                      Mark Gutierrez, contrabass

Rachel Iba, violin II                   James Waterman, percussion

Cantori New York
Aanchal Saraf, Amy Baehr, Ariel Leutheusser, Ben Keiper, Benjamin Haile, Blake Hurlburt, Brian Hopkins, Brian Morales, Celeste Oram, Chelsea Harvey, Cloe Gentile Reyes, Daniel Lawrence, Daniel Lowen, David Usdan, Dawn Jordan, Eli Zaleznik, Emma Bauchner, Geri Besca, Jeremy Cohan, Jessica Kiesel, Jessie Douglas, Jonathan Aisenberg, Kimberly DiNicola, Laura Perrone, Maddie Schindele, Maggie Dobbins, Mark Stedman, Michael Phillips, Nicole Weigelt, Noah Fitzer, Nolan Gear, Olga Mesonjnik, Pam Reich, Richard Berg, Sam Wise, Sara Mazes, Sean Ullmer, Stephen Buck, Zoe Kahana

Every Voice Concert Choir

Rika-Eve Aglitsky-Rapoport, Carla Almanzar, Nicholas Elliot, Lea Federman, Lina Hobert, Kara Lee, Michelle Li, Lana Mailender, Agnes Matthews, Joelle Mendoza, Madeline Ment, Sophia Min, Gabriel Plaza-Hernando, Lorelei Rey, SofiaVerhoogen-Guzzini, Emma Wilkins, Mica Woodburn, Eva Woodruff

Recording Engineer – Andreas Meyer, Meyer Media LLC / Swan Studios NYC

Editing, Mixing, and Mastering – Ian A. Smith   

Additional Editing – Derrick Skye

Neither Separated, Nor Undone

Resonating with the warmth of sun rays the cool air of winter, neither undone

Complex, our sensations, ideas juxtaposition

rain and sunshine quickly spun neither to be separated, nor undone

deep within a moment a common recognition,

many opposing beliefs at home in one opinion

comfortable and complex a common human condition

so common in one afford to all

no monolithic wall deliverance