AMERICAN PRIZE for Orchestral Composition 2012, Special Judges’ Citation for Unique Artistic Achievement and Distinctive Merit (Trotzky’s Train III)
Finalist, American Prize 2015 for Orchestral Composition (Pangs of Love)
Finalist, American Prize 2013 for Orchestral Composition (Elegy for strings)

Contemporary works for Orchestra – a collection of 20th and 21st century orchestral music by David Avshalomov, including orchestrations and song cycles, with recordings and scores.

view score Concertino for Oboe solo oboe, strings, harp 15′ 2002/2009
Order This» Charming, inventive orchestration of the Sonata Breve; lyrical, light/dark, short concerto. Commissioned by Aaron and Amelia Neustadt. See Sonata Breve (under SOLO) for chamber version sound samples, movements, notes. Notes»
I. Shifting Masks 6’15
Developmental, varied sonata form with strongly contrasting themes and moods, now sunny, now dramatic and gloomy, now lyrical, now rhythmic and restless
II. Lament 5’40
Elegiac slow movement. Song form with lyrical folk-like melodies. Central sharp, passionate outburst of grief in a short, wild oboe cadenza; gentle varied reprise with short coda
III. Hushabye 4’40
Simple, playful, childlike rondo in lyrical American folk vein; finally fades away to a safe, reassuring mood, like a lullaby on a child’s music box
view score Concerto con Timpani (Battaglia) timpani soli (6-7), strings, harpsichord continuo 14′ 1992
Order This» Concerto, early 18th-century concertato style. May use hand-tuned drums. Fun to play and hear. Score is style-edited, with Baroque performance guidelines. (Written under the nom de plume G. F. Salomon.) Notes»
I. Intrada, Grave/ allegro 3’40
Ouverture (slow/fast/slow). Regal fanfare start/end. Rhythmic passages alternating between showy, busy soloist and ripieno, flashy drumming near the end.
II. Largo sostenuto 5’35
Slow, elegant, affect of mourning
III. Presto 3’40
Rattling fast movement with longer solo passages, flashy wrap-up, echo ending
view score Diamond Variations strings, harp 13′ 2005
Order This» Tonal romantic variations on an original octahedral melody, contrasting the beauty, symbolism and romance of diamonds with the historic greed, smuggling, theft, and violence of the trade. Choice of brutal or serene ending. Co-commissioned by Emily Ray, Mission Chamber Orchestra, San Jose CA; Tracey Rush, Dubuque Community String Orchestra, Iowa. Notes»
I. The Diamond (Theme) 1’20
Vigorous, romantic, sweet
II. The Cutter 0’40
III. Best Friends 1’30
Pretty girl waltz
IV. Temptation 0’30
Furtive quick jumping motive
V. Yearning 1’40
Slow double canons and pungent harmonies
VI. Smugglers 0’30
Continued furtive jumping, brash, sharp end
VII. Forever 3’15
Aching slow-buildup Mahler-tribute adagio with heart-deep peak and prayerlike peaceful ending.
VIII. Blood Diamonds 2′
Fast powerful piece; furtive jumping start, buildup to full-blown vicious violence.
IX. The Perfect Gem 3’30
Saccharine recap of the theme, high, angelic all-happy-and-beautiful cadence
view score Elegy strings 8′ 1990
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Finalist, American Prize for Orchestral Composition 2013. Slow, exquisite, sad, dignified elegy growing out of a soulful melody; unexpected slow blues-y “stomp” middle (Mahler meets Cab Callaway), bitter reprise, “death” chord, “farewell” cadence. Dedicated to the memory of Leonard Bernstein.
Sound sample: PYP Alumni Orchestra conducted by the composer. CD: Naxos/Marco Polo, “Aaron Avshalomoff, Orchestral Works, vol. 3″ (Moscow Symphony Orchestra/David Avshalomov)
view score Gems Album No. 1 small to large orchestra, several with few winds, few or no brass. 13′ total 1990/2005
Order Set» Set of very short, strong-character, colorful preludes for everyday use with general audiences, community outreach concerts, children’s and school concerts. May be performed singly or in small sets, mix and match. Accessible for competent community orchestras, advanced high school/ college orchestras.
1. Brilliant large orchestra 0’35
Brisk rhythmic fanfare, winds/trpt lead
2. Starry Night large orchestra 1’45
Quiet awe-filled starry dome of night, slow-build processional with a Milky Way peak and a big brassy ending trailing off to stardust bells
3. Whirlwind standard orchestra 0’35
Suddenly swirling adventure theme in a single vibrant arch and dying spinaway
4. Galaxy large orchestra 2’30
Expansive, broad build-up space adventure march theme arch with softer romantic middle and extreme warp-drive ending
5. Forever Strings 4’30
Aching slow-buildup Mahler-tribute adagio with heart-deep peak and prayerlike peaceful ending. Strings only.
6. March of the Giant Robots standard orchestra 2’20
Heavy, vigorous, pounding, heedlessly driving, mechanical 5/4 theme with grinder middle shift and quizzical timing-chain-spindown ending
7. Sweet Melody (Pas de Deux) strings, woodwinds, horns, harp 1’15
High, gentle, devotedly loving theme in violins, background punctuations from solo woodwinds. So sweet.
8. The Sky’s the Limit large orchestra 1′
Vigorous, rhythmic fanfare with syncopated driving background. Features the brass. Hot cadence!
view score Gems Album No. 2 12′ total 1990/2009
Order Set» Second set of very short, strong-character, colorful preludes for everyday use
1. Our Leader large orchestra 0’30
Short fanfare starting in quiet brass, building in three phrases to a huge cadence
2. Arietta flute, horns, strings, opt. 2nd flute 1’30
Simple sentimental melody with soft sweet harmonization, warmly scored
3. Intrada: Le Grand Condé Baroque orchestra (strings, 2 oboes, bassoon, 3 trumpets, timpani, opt. harpsichord) 1’15
Bright, Louis XIV-style fanfare/intrada with military tattoo rhythms, spotlighting high trumpets. Also available for brass ensemble.
4. The Mountain brass, timpani, strings 1′
Gloomy dark clouds on the mountain
5. Aegean Cruise standard orchestra 0’45
Snapshot of a slow cruise liner on shining sea under blue sky, swirling winds, shimmering strings
6. Prime of Life standard orchestra 2’30
Cheerfully chugging Excursion Train, moderate speed, three variants of a broad tune with busy accompaniment
7. Teutonic Fanfare standard orchestra 1’10
Heavy moderate speed fanfare start with long-arch melody and strong end
8. Blood Diamonds strings 2′
Fast, powerful, bitter piece for strings. Furtive jumping motives, buildup to full-blown vicious violence
9. Big Screen Romance standard orchestra 1’15
Big romantic melody over lush harmonic background, full film-titles ending
view score Let’s Grow an Orchestra operatic soprano, full orchestra 45′ 1989/1990
Order This» (final song) Schoolchild’s interactive rug-concert introduction to the orchestra with soprano/narrator. Original script, original Orchestra Song with variations, arrangements of short excerpts from standard repertoire. Commissioned and performed by the Long Beach Symphony for Kinderkonzerts 1989/1990, the composer conducting. (Score is of the Finale. Sound sample: sung by Gwendolyn Lytle.)
no digital score available Ouverture: Augustus the Strong Baroque orchestra (strings, 2 oboes, bassoon, harpsichord) 2′ 1990
Order This» Authentic French Baroque ouverture, slow/fast with fugal middle. Composed under the nom de plume “G. F. Salomon”
view score Pangs of Love strings 32′ 2002-3
Order This» Finalist, American Prize for Orchestral Composition 2015. Modern romantic, lyrical, passionate, dynamically varied work projecting the quick buildup, consummation and breakup of an intense romantic affair in 47 short, progressive, interlocking variations on the “love” theme from Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony. Several variations in older popular dance styles. Serious workout for the string ensemble.
Commissioned by Barbara Day Turner for San Jose Chamber Orchestra.
I. Coming Together 17′
Encounter through consummation and sleep
II. Falling Apart 15′
From sleep/dream through fight, breakup, and release
view score Prelude and Rondo by AARON AVSHALOMOFF (orchestration) chamber orchestra 6′ total 1958/1982
Order This» My orchestration in my grandfather’s manner of 2 Chinese-style pieces for piano 4-hands that he wrote for my 12th birthday. Premiered in Beijing with the LA Drs. Symphony on tour. (Sound samples: PYP Alumni Orchestra conducted by David Avshalomov) Notes»
I. Prelude 3′
Slow, melodic, dreamy, “in a Chinese Garden” type piece, thoughtful suspended ending.
II. Rondo 3′
Lively, droll “black keys” quick-step rondo with a lyrical-then-mysterious middle, and a fun big-splash ending (originally arm-cluster chords).
view score Siege large orchestra 7′ 1967/99
Order This» Lyrical, dark, moody, dramatic tone poem, modern-tonal, two themes, using the full resources of the orchestra. Episodes suggesting the night siege of a medieval fortress–today this would be videogame battle music! Runs from slow rising contrapuntal tension in full orchestra through energetic challenge in the brass, night watch, stealthy undermining and breach, sudden attack with glorious victory, and tragic quiet lament with a slow bitter ending. Also for concert band. Notes»
view score Songs of Life / Songs of Death
(Emily Dickinson)
solo bass-baritone voice, orchestra (variable) 23′ total 2004
Order This» Colorfully-orchestrated, highly melodic double set of nine short songs on common Emily Dickinson themes and motifs: snakes, nature, the sea, horses, trains, bells, love, sex, sublimation, hope, fear, insanity, pain, God, fear of death–and its acceptance. Ranging from hopeful contagious enthusiasm to morbid melodrama. The two sets can be performed separately. (Sound samples: sung by the composer with Musica Bella Orchestra of NY conducted by Phillip Gaskill) Notes»
All Lyrics»
A Narrow Fellow in the Grass light orchestra 1’45
Nimble, ironic expression of instinctual fear of snakes–“zero at the bone”…
The Railway Train large orchestra 2’30
Fast, evocative depiction of the power and fascination of this huge rolling machine. Full scoring.
Wild Nights large orchestra 1’30
Fast, splashy outburst, dreams of abandon to wild open-hearted lovemaking, borne by sea metaphors–almost X-rated. Impressionist.
Hope is the Thing with Feathers strings, flute, harp 2’20
Irish-sounding ballad, simple, lyrical, touching slow melody, in C. Also for high voice in Eb. Both keys can be performed with chamber group (flute, piano or harp, string quintet)
It Was Not Death large orchestra 3’30
Frozen, helpless expression of paralyzing fear of death arriving with no evident cause–in broad daylight, over descending bell tones. Long slow arch with despairing end.
The Heart Asks Pleasure First strings, woodwinds, harp 2′
Consoling, sweet hospice lyric suggesting a loved one slowly dying in hospital, in great pain, and the blessed “liberty/privilege to die”. Slow, long intensifying arch to the top and low ending.
I Felt a Funeral in My Brain large orchestra 3’30
The horror of witnessing her own funeral–or losing her mind? Grimmest slow march with quotes from Chopin, Tchaikowsky, Mahler.
Tie the Strings to my Life large orchestra 1’45
Brave song asking God for just a last glance and kiss of the hills, then she is “ready to go.” Gallant English-sounding melody over a cheerful lively galloping motif, inner moment of wistfulness, triumphant end.
Because I Could Not Stop for Death (Tango/Encore) medium orchestra 3′
Taut tango in ersatz ballroom-dance-of-doom style to match the arch, artificial politesse of the poem. Mock-solemn mood, melody and harmony traditionally sentimental. Short bass trombone solo.
view score Trotzky’s Train string orchestra, solo piano 40′ 2010
Order This» Tragic, bittersweet neo-romantic work reflecting on the 1917 Russian Revolution and the resulting tragedy of Stalinist oppression. Runs the gamut from foreboding to loss, sad memory, sweet farewell and acceptance, to an increasingly grim dialectic between the truth of Stalinism (not real Socialism) and the sweet tragic Russian soul, with a deadly and inevitable end. Some solistic role for the piano. (Fuller scoring of original chamber version for piano sextet) Notes»
I. Romanovs’ Last Ball 10’30
In a tragic, relentless series of melody-driven waltz episodes, the end of the Tsar. Full of sudden jolts and fierce drive, creeping Bolsheviks, between passages of sweeping, aching nostalgic lyricism. Brutal end.
II. Memento Mori (Adagio) 12’20
Slow memorial to the millions of victims of the Stalinist purges, their fear, their suffering, their disappearing, the waste of souls. Bitter start, sweet mourning circle dance, grim reprise, restful sweet ending.
III. Trotzky’s Train 17’30
AMERICAN PRIZE for Orchestral Composition 2012 – Awarded Special Judges’ Citation for Unique Artistic Achievement and Distinctive Merit. Join us as Commissar Trotsky and his staff roll around the Russian countryside in his customized train-headquarters, rallying the troops and rebuilding the demoralized army for the dual war against the Axis and the Mensheviks. Vigorous, ethnic flavors, train energy, and a grim relentless Stalinist end.
view score Two Apocalyptic Songs solo bass-baritone voice, full orchestra 16′ 2000
Order This» Ozymandias (Shelley), The Ceremony of Innocence (Yeats). Sound samples are with piano, sung by the composer. Notes»
Ozymandias 8′
Dramatic, ironic narrative about the remnants of proud empire. Big brass announcement in middle. Desert ending. Lyrics»
The Ceremony of Innocence 7’45
Dramatic solo mini-oratorio about the mystical cycles of the millennia. Haunting ending. Lyrics»