Works by Instrumentation

Large Ensemble

Chamber Music

Solo Pieces

Electronic and Multimedia

Large Ensemble

Blue River Breakdown (2017):

Wind Ensemble (pic, 2fl, ob, 2bsn, 3cl, bs cl, satb sax, 3trp, 4hn, 2trb, bs trb, euph, tuba, timpani, 4 perc)

Duration: 3:00

Grade Level: 4

Blue River Breakdown is a fanfare for band that blends two motivic gestures: a typical brass fanfare and a high-energy big band shout chorus. It was written for and is dedicated to the directors of the UMKC Bands Steven Davis and Joseph Parisi for their continuous support of new music by UMKC’s student composers.

Recording Coming Soon

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Between Glimpses of Blue (2016):

Wind Ensemble (pic, 2fl, ob, 2bsn, 3cl, bs cl, satb sax,3trp, 4hn, 2trb, bs trb, euph, tuba, timpani, 4 perc)

Duration: 9:30

For many years the incredible colors and shapes that the sky and clouds can create have fascinated me. Between Glimpses of Blue is a collage of memories, impressions of the different types of clouds, and moods one might associate with them. For instance, the calm and atmospheric Stratus, billowing Cumulus, and tremendous and terrifying Nimbocumulus. Three memories of mine also influenced this work considerably: In 2002, flying over the Pacific Ocean at 35,000 feet with the sun chasing our flight, I awoke just before daybreak. Soon after, a 2-hour sunrise began with each color of the light spectrum coming into focus and streaming across the sea of clouds below in a rainbow of colors. It was honestly one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I’ve ever witnessed. Second, in 2011 a storm crossed the summer sky over Pullman, Washington as the sun was setting, creating a fire in a nearby field. Outside the sky was terrifyingly black and red sky to my left, to the right peaceful blue and white, and in the middle was the setting sun. Lastly, while writing this piece in the summer of 2016, my flight into Kansas City at night was detoured around a towering storm. This storm cloud dwarfed our plane considerably, threatening us with ripples of lightning up and down right before our eyes. Between Glimpses of Blue was commissioned in 2016 by a consortium of 15 university and high school wind ensembles headed by the Danh Pham and the Washington State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

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Wanderings on the Divide (2014):

Wind Ensemble (pic, 2fl, 2ob, 3cl, bs. cl, satb sax, 2bsn, 3trp, 4hn, 2trb, bs trb, euph, tuba, timp, 4 perc)

Duration: 11:00

Grade Level: 5-6

Wanderings on the Divide is a very biographical piece that is tied to a time of my life in which I felt lost as composer and musician. Having moved from the Palouse in eastern Washington State (a region with a population below 100,000 people) to the D.C. metro, I longed for the flowing, expansive hills that I had come to call home for two years. Feeling lost and alone, I turned to my new surroundings. I would walk through the streets of Washington, D.C. with little or no direction, attempting to familiarize myself with the city; and on mountain trails in the Shenandoah Valley and George Washington Forest parks, looking for an escape from the developed world. I soon became fascinated by the extreme differences and similarities of both environments, and came to call these two a “digital” and a “natural” world.

Soon after, I began to write what is now this piece with these two worlds in mind, but without any idea what it would ultimately become. Wanderings was written on-and-off for the next two years, and the original idea of two separate environments was eventually abandoned as a narrative. However, it is still possible to hear the digital sound - bright active, and highly rhythmic; and the natural – slow, meditative, and pensive. As the direction for the piece changed, I let the material come intuitively rather than systematically, just as in my own wanderings, resulting in sections of the piece that will lead the listener confidently forward, while others will do just the opposite and create confusion.

Ultimately, Wanderings on the Divide recalls much of the natural and man-made surroundings of my time in Washington State and Washington, D.C., and delves in the introspective nature of self-discovery that many share in their young-adulthood. Lastly, during this time I was reading quite a lot of poetry. One line by Walt Whitman particularly resonated with me: “Forever forward, Forever alive.”

Premiered October 3, 2015 by the Hartt School Symphony Band and James Jackson in West Hartford, Connecticut

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Crossroads Fanfare (2014):

Wind Ensemble (pic, 2fl, 2ob, 3cl, bs. cl, satb sax, 2bsn, 3trp, 4hn, 2trb, bs trb, euph, tuba, timp, 4 perc)

Duration: 3:30

Grade Level: 5

Crossroads Fanfare is inspired by the actual crossroads of downtown Kansas City, Missouri; which at its height was one of the main transportation centers in the United States. Flourishing woodwinds, driving low brass, screaming horns, and a variety of musical ideas whiz in and out throughout the piece, emulating traffic moving through an intersection in one direction and another. Crossroads Fanfare was written for Steven Davis and the University of Missouri – Kansas City Wind Symphony in Summer 2014, and premiered October 23.

Published through Murphy Music Press:

Score Only
Score and Parts

Blacktop Mirage (2011)

Orchestra (2222, 4221, perc, strings)

Duration: 5:00

Based on the stroboscopic effect commonly seen in car commercials in which a wheel's hubcap appears to be moving slower or even backwards which the wheel is moving forward, Blacktop Mirage exists between a fast, repetitive motion and a floating melody. With a middle-eastern flair these two ideas evolve around each other, leading the listener to moments of surprise and joy, but as with mirages they quickly disappear. (5:00)

Premiere: January 28, 2012; Washington-Idaho Symphony, Pullman,WA

Awards: Winner of the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Competition

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Chamber Music

Life and Death on a Spinning Disk (2016)

Trombone and Fixed Media
Duration: 8:30

A record player is called to life to tell its pre-recorded story of a computer’s rebellion against its creator, and how it destroys the world.

Life and Death on a Spinning Disk is inspired by the stories of a technological singularity apocalypse, particularly the Dark Tower series by Steven King and the images of his city of Lud. In the summer of 2015 I began reading this series and became infatuated with the world of Roland the Gunslinger and it’s eerie desolation. The city of Lud comes at the end of the third book, The Waste Lands, and is depicted as a sort of post-apocalyptic New York City. Underneath the city a network of computers housed a computer being that over the course of hundreds if not thousands of years went mad (Blaine, what a pain), and over the loudspeakers a record plays at regular intervals with deadly consequences. Thus my idea for this piece warped these elements of Lud into a different, albeit related, narrative. King’s style of writing influenced this work as well. Throughout the piece sounds are presented in the fixed media without context or meaning, yet by the end their meaning becomes clearer. King uses this often throughout individual books as well as the entire series. Life and Death on a Spinning Disk was commissioned by Matthew Russo in 2015, and finished in the summer of 2016.

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Soundtrack of an Open Road (2014/15)

Cello and Fixed Media
Duration: 9:00

Soundtrack of an Open Road describes the pursuit for sanctuary, in the form of a calm and open road. From 2011-2013 I found myself driving more and more, and it was during these drives, especially those going cross-country, I was able to find a kind of mental clarity. Since then the sounds of a car and the road have been ingrained in me. The piece starts aggressively, depicting elements of road rage and anxiety. Gradually the journey becomes calmer, and the sounds of cars eventually fade away, leaving the cellist in a moment of solitude and sanctuary in the form of a cadenza. This moment or clarity is brief, as the roads of before return, as does the chaos of earlier. The fixed media is comprised of recorded sounds from cars, inside and out, as well as the materials they are built from (i.e. glass, metal). Soundtrack of an Open Road was written in 2014 and early 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri for Tiffany Bell.

Premiere: March 2015; Tiffany Bell - Cello, Kansas City, MO

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Winter's Summer (2014)

Alto Saxophone and Fixed Media

Duration: 5:15

Written for Duke Sullivan in April 2014, Winter’s Summer is inspired by his poem Re-Blooming, specifically the last phrase:


in the depth of winter

I had an invincible summer to feed the buds,

a chance to bloom again.

This piece emulates various aspects of the poem, but specifically the last phrase. It shifts between a winter soundscape, still and quiet; and summer one, bright and active. The Alto Saxophone and fixed media are often intertwined with each other, as the fixed media was written almost entirely with filtered sounds and techniques on saxophone. Winter’s Summer begins with a winter soundscape of melancholic phrases in the Alto while being accompanied by a cold, empty wind in the fixed media. Several interruptions in the fixed media foreshadow the arrival of summer, which contrasts winter with fast, rhythmic, and jazz-like gestures. Summer gradually fades away and returns following the climax of the piece. However, at winter’s return the Alto is no longer melancholic. Having had the opportunity to “bloom” in the brief summer of this piece, the Alto waits once more for winter to fade away, and is given one final reminder of it in the fixed media before the winds of winter finally let go.

Premiere: April 2014, Kansas City, MO

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Colors (2013)

Saxophone Ensemble (sopranino, 2satb, bass)

Duration: 7:00

In 2013 I discovered that my mother has the neurological condition Synesthesia, which is when one sensory reaction triggers another. In my mother’s case she sees colors when she hears music. I’ve encountered this specific neurological combination in several people and have been curious of its affects on the listener. After researching what affects the colors seen, I discovered that each person’s synesthesia was unique, and that often no two listeners with this condition saw the same image. So in this piece I strived to initiate as many colors as possible through changing orchestration, harmony, melody, moods, and utilizing the enormous range of the saxophone ensemble. Colors was written for Zach Shemon and the University of Missouri – Kansas City Saxophone Ensemble in the fall of 2013.

Premiere: March 2014; UMKC Saxophone Ensemble, Kansas City, MO.

Published through Murphy Music Press:

Score and Parts

Ping (2013)

Saxophone Quartet (SATB)

Duration: 6:30

Based on the computer networking tool "ping," which tests the connection to and from a computer source, this piece mimics that back-and-forth communication. Like dozens of link lights flashing on the back of PC's, members of the quartet trade entrances and material, creating a flowing sound with their short and sometimes erratic entrances. The piece changes pace quickly throughout, emulating a distracted attention, while also finding moments of escape that seem to stretch time indefinitely. However this lapse is an illusion as almost every moment in Ping is measured, keeping the ensemble in a meticulously computerized and connected world. Ping was commissioned by Bill Perconti and the Lewis and Clark State College Saxophone Quartet in Lewiston, Idaho in the Fall of 2012.

Premiere: April 2013, LCSC Saxophone Quartet, Pullman, Washington

Published through Murphy Music Press:

Score and Parts


Push and Pull (2012)

B-flat Clarinet
Duration: 5:00

This piece explores the different notions of "pushing and "pulling." There are sections of free, cadenza-like ideas contrasted by other strict rhythmic sections. Dynamics and intensity also emulate the push and pull motion moving to and from contrasting points. Written for Graham Dart. (5:00)

Premiered: April 17, 2012; Graham Dart on Clarinet, Pullman, WA

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All Thumbs (2011)

Bassoon or Baritone Sax Duration: 5:00 All Thumbs was commissioned by Seth Dunlap in the spring of 2011 during my time in Washington State. At the time I was experimenting with a new method I had developed to translate words and letters into musical letter-names. The first four notes of this piece, concert F, E, G, and B-flat, spell out Seth. This gesture is then used to develop the material for the entire piece. The performer is given considerable stylistic and musical freedom, allowing for a variety of interpretations. Premiere: February 2, 2012; Seth Dunlap on Bassoon; Pullman, WA Baritone Sax Premiere: September 2013, Ted King-Smith on Baritone Sax, Kansas City, MO Order here

1, Two, 3 (2010)

Duration: 5:00

1, Two, 3 was commissioned by Rachel Gordon for solo Flute in the fall of 2010. At the time I was fascinated by the counterpoint of the 17th century and how composers like J.S. Bach could do so much with seemingly so little. In this piece I blended the Baroque type of counterpoint with jazz influences. There are sections of 1, 2, and 3 voices that pop out of the flute texture and evolve as the piece progresses. As with several of my unaccompanied pieces, the performer is given some stylistic freedom. Most of the piece is in a jazz-ish style, but is interrupted by Baroque patterns that quickly spiral out into another idea.

Premiere: March 2011; Rachel Gordon, Flute; Pullman, WA

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Electronic and Multimedia Works

Steps to Balance 1-5 (2017)

Animation by Molly Garrett, and music by Ted King-Smith. This was part of a collaboration between Molly and members of the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance (KcEMA), and was screened at the Kansas City Contemporary Music Festival in May 2017. View on Vimeo

Waves in B (2017)

From the Shores of Sanibel, Florida

Airplane Etude (2016)

While in the sky, one looks down and recognizes home from 20,000ft above.
This is an excerpt from the fixed media in the first movement of Celestial Metamorphosis. Much of the material in this excerpt was created using field recordings I collected from the inside of an airplane, while the crickets were recorded at my childhood home in upstate New York. This piece was featured on I Care If You Listen's Summer 2016 Mixtape, and I am so grateful for their support!

Celestial Metamorphosis (2016)

Full performance of the ArtSounds Collaboration on February 9, 2016 by Mnemosyne Quartet (right channel) and Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes (left channel), with pieces written by the ensembles as well as Eli Hougland, Cody Kauhl, and Ted King-Smith:

1 - Airplane (Ted King-Smith)
2 - Birds (Eli Hougland)
3 - Fog (EIO)
4 - Drone (David D. McIntire)
5 - Clouds (Mnemosyne)
6 - Rain (Cody Kauhl)
7 - Storm (Ted King-Smith)