This past summer I was a Composition Fellow at the Wyoming Festival. One day we spotted a herd of bison. A little buffalo ignored the big, shaggy, grunting, foraging herd and galloped across the prairie. I just had to compose some music about the little buffalo.
I originally wrote the music for Stephanie Zelnick, associate professor of clarinet at the University of Kansas and Principal Clarinet of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. She’s also a founder of the AdZel clarinet duo. The original version of The Little Buffalo is a clarinet duet. However, after writing the piece I realized that it could be played by many combinations of two instruments. I’ve written a violin duo version for Holly Mulcahy, concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera as well as a bassoon and French Horn version for Ali Berndt, Associate Principal Bassoon of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Melissa Morey, principal horn for Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Ali and Melissa have graciously been collaborating with me on The Little Buffalo Suite with amazing (and very appreciated) suggestions for the bassoon and horn parts. Since my main instrument was the flute, help with double reed and brass instruments has proved invaluable.
I’ve also written a version for oboe and baritone saxophone. Susan Miranda of the Chione Quintet in Minneapolis and founder of the Twin Cities Orchestra, and Benjamin Cold, Professor of Single Reeds at Bemidji State University, will be playing the piece in 2019.