What's New (III)

There’s a new piece listed on the Works page:

I wrote with plains stillness in 2019 in response to something I read about how loud orchestral brass playing had gotten. Also, I was reminded of some excellent musical experiences I had had in Macomb, Illinois, and the stark winter landscape and the quietude of the town and (especially) its surrounding countryside.

As always, if you are interested in performing with plains stillness or if you are interested in seeing the score, you can reach me through the Contact page of this site.

What's New (II)

I’ve added two more pieces to the Works page:

Crocodile: Her Rest, Her Flight was written for Sarah Watts’ Feed the Beast initiative, designed to draw attention to the world’s endangered species through a series of compositions featuring contrabass clarinet.

Given by Nature, a piece for clarinet and trombone, written for my big brother Les, in honor of his impending retirement as Director of Bands at Furman University.

Scores and parts available by writing to me through the Contact page.

What's New

I'd like to point to two new pieces on my Works page, both composed this year.

Shadowy Figures is a short piece for alto sax, viola, and marimba. It's part of an unofficial series of pieces about hidden processes and agendas.

The program notes for "Biko" Variations read:

"Biko" Variations is a set of 15 variations on the rhythmic pattern that underlies Peter Gabriel’s great song protesting the death at police hands of anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko, in 1977. The insistent nature of the pattern speaks both of the insistent nature of oppression and the insistent need to resist. To paraphrase what Mr. Gabriel says at the end of live performances of "Biko", "As always, the rest is up to us".

Both of these pieces are available now for performance and/or perusal. Please contact me through the Contact page or directly in email at stevehicken@gmail.com.

Here and There (I)

A January release of music for string quartet (with other instruments on some pieces) by Laura Elise Schwendinger played by the great JACK Quartet and guests (Albany Troy1704) is yet another reminder of what this medium means to so many composers. In the Creature Quartet: Hymn for Lost Creatures (2013), the composer laments mass extinctions with “character portraits” of “extinct, mythological, or endangered” species. It is a fine work, with the opening chords, lovely and mysterious, providing welcome entry in the work’s soundworld.

It is often the case that a work titled “String Quartet” is a very different beast from a piece written for string quartet. Schwendinger’s “String Quartet in three movements” (2001) is, to my ears, an example of this idea. It sounds like a strong statement from the composer that this is what a String Quartet is at the time of its composition. I think this is what the great string quartet cycles (Beethoven, Bartok, Shostakovich, Carter, Johnston, and many others) read like diaries or journals of their composers’ musical development. I hope to hear more entries from Ms Schwendinger, and that they get as good a reading as this piece does from the JACKs.

*             *             *             *             *

I’d like to point you to a couple of really good resources for Modern and contemporary concert music.

Unsilence is a radio show hosted by composer Phil Kline, that airs on Monday evenings at 7 eastern, with replays throughout the week, at newsounds.org, which used to be known as Q2. Mr. Kline spins music from an array of styles on shows that are often organized around themes, such as recent episodes about Shakespeare and about the use of silence. Please check it out.

Score Follower is a website and group of YouTube channels devoted to presenting performances of contemporary concert music while displaying the score on the screen. It’s a fascinating and immensely valuable resource for those who like to read scores, as well as those of wondering “how did she write that down?” The channels, called Score Follower, Incipitsify, and Mediated Scores, include dozens of compositions, presented in a variety of formats. Again, please check it out.



I've just completed Book 1 of a set of preludes for piano. Watch this space for an announcement of a premiere. Those interested in receiving a PDF of the score, please make a request using the form on the Contact page.


I've added a new recording to the Listen page.

I wrote When Your Time is Orange for my nephew, the already-accomplished Gordon Hicken. He gives it a committed and relentless performance.

Video to follow.


Greetings! Welcome to stevehickenmusic.com.

The main purpose of this site is to promote my music. Accordingly, the Works and Listen pages are key. In addition, I put some of my enthusiastically amateur photography on the Look page.

For now, I'll use this blog for announcements of double bars, performances, recordings, and other news. I'll continue posting reviews and the like at listen101.

Thanks for visiting, and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, and requests you might have.