Coranach for Julissa

for concert band

Picc, 2 Fl, 2 Ob, 3 Cl in Bb, Alto Cl in Eb, Bass Clarinet in Bb, Contrabass Clarinet in Bb, 2 Bsn, 2 Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, 3 Trp in Bb, 4 Hn, 3 Trb, Euphonium, 2 Tubas, Percussion (4 players): Triangle, 2 Cymbals, Timpani, Xylophone, Chimes, Glockenspiel

premiered April 26, 2006
Pomona College Band, Graydon Beeks, conductor
Bridges Hall of Music, Claremont, California


Rebecca Parmer


Emily Barkley-Levenson
Mieko Kikuchi
Rebecca Parmer

Emily Gable
Jennifer Mitchell
Alma Zook

English Horn
Alma Zook

E-flat |Clarinet
Linda Gall Silva

B-flat Clarinet
Ylissa Aquino
Camille Frazier
Joshua Kao
James Kato
Andrew Lytle
Lucie McGee
Michael Reed
Linda Gall Silva
Steven Von der Porten

Alto Clarinet
Andrea Cohen

Bass Clarinet
Kathryn Poindexter


Sandra Fenton
John Guiderelli
Hollie Lohff

Alto Saxophone
Zachary Brown
Alana Mori

Tenor Saxophone
John Seery

Baritone Saxophone
Mark Junod

Devon Lafferty
Michael Martin
Christine Moore
Michael Pugh


Janeen Apodaca
Susan Helfter
Donald Lawrence
Val Olson

Raymond Fenton
Brendan McCollam
John Sandhagen

Ricky White


Stephen Klein

Trevor Adams
Jeff Fortner
Jason Goodman
Kris Mettala


A coranach is an Irish funeral cry, or keening. It is a lamentation for the dead, more a shriek than a moan.

In November 2005, Pomona College student Julissa Alvarez died in an automobile accident. She was a clarinetist in the Pomona College Band, and Director Graydon Beeks asked for a short piece in her memory.

Although I never met her, the tragedy of the sudden passing of one so young was deeply affecting. What I thought might be a short and quiet elegy quickly evolved into something else. The piece opens with a solo clarinet hovering over the murmuring of the section clarinets. It is soon overwhelmed by rising scales in the winds, which wail to the top of their range. Subsequent moments of peace unexpectedly bloom into cries of rage. Throughout the piece, upwelling grief and anger battle with warm and consoling recollections, which lead finally to a tentative acceptance. The piece ends with the hovering and murmuring clarinets from the beginning, the solo lingering in quiet consolation.

Coranach for Julissa is dedicated to Graydon Beeks and the Pomona College Band, in memory of Julissa Alvarez.

score excerpt


back to