Wanderings (2013)

Duration: 15 to 25′
Instrumentation: clarinet and computer
Commissioned by clarinetist Yi-wen Chen

Around the time Yi-Wen approached me in early 2013 to write a piece for clarinet and electronics, I was beginning my research into the fascinating world of interactive fiction. Within these works, the reader is tasked with making decisions about how to interact with the text, resulting in a reading experience that becomes very focused on the moment and changing the relationship between author and reader as a result. Immediately I proposed trying to create a similar experience in performance, and she excitedly agreed. Wanderings is the result of this collaboration.

Though there are sections of fully composed music, the material breaks down into increasingly abstract fragments that invite the clarinetist to choose her own path through the score. At the same time, the computer musician listens intently, reacting to the clarinetist’s choices; the resultant sound of the computer part then informs the clarinet, creating an active dialog between the two musicians throughout the piece. In live performance, there are thus two pieces that occur – the one observed by the audience, and the special one shared and experienced only by the two performers.


June 25, 2017 – New York City, NY
Yi-wen Chen, clarinet; Kyle Rowan, computer
New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival

March 26-28, 2015 – Blacksburg, VA
SEAMUS National Conference – Listening Room

April 20, 2014 – Urbana, IL (world premiere)
Yi-wen Chen, clarinet; Kyle Rowan, computer