Skyler Graham



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Skyler Graham, MUS303: Music History 2
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music

My project delves into the tragically haunting composition of An American Elegy by Frank Ticheli (b.1958). While An American Elegy is a beautiful and hopeful piece, it represents a much darker event. Ticheli composed this piece to commemorate those that lost their lives in the 1999 Columbine Shooting. I performed this piece as a flutist during my own high school years, and it remains my favorite piece composed specifically for wind ensemble. I look at the piece not only from a narrative perspective, but also from a technical one, through study of Ticheli as a living composer in his own words, and through modern criticism of his work by others. I discuss Ticheli's musical and technical background, then analyze the work itself and what it depicts, by identifying An American Elegy's principal motives and what they represent. My project seeks to learn what the piece means to Ticheli through its musical nuances and how they become structurally functional and cohesive in his hands. Its goal is to explore the musical influences found in the piece and what makes it so exceptional in modern American musical expression.

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Behind Frank Ticheli's An American Elegy
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