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Ruminations - SOLO OB

Composer: Morris, Alyssa

Publisher: TrevCo

Edition: 71268


for solo oboe
by Alyssa Morris (b. 1984) - American composer and oboist

I. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
II. Emotions: Masked and Unmasked
III. Enough's Enough


I composed Ruminations for solo oboe in March 2021. Each movement is a personally expressive etude, meant to depict the feeling of obsessive thinking about an idea, especially when it interferes with normal mental functioning. Ruminations is a musical impression of some of my thoughts and feelings from 2020 and 2021.

Movement 1 plays on the repeated pattern of its title, Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. The statement is spun into a sixteenth note pattern in 7/8 meter, mimicking “woulda, coulda, woulda, coulda, woulda, coulda, shoulda.” This obsessive thinking pattern is paired with frustrated outbursts, typified by glissandi to stratospheric ranges in the oboe and timbral trills.

In Emotions: Masked and Unmasked, the oboe presents a mournful, lonely tune. In juxtaposition, a jazzy, up-tempo contrafact of the first melody is introduced. This lively and dancing rendition reaches a piercing climax. The oboe reverts back to melancholy in a lonely recapitulation.

The oboe cuts through the silence with an angry ascending motive in Enough’s Enough. Pitch bends and timbral trills give voice to the rage. A repeated motive is introduced, ornamented by stomping and multi-phonics. A furious crescendo comes to a raucous climax with a timbral trill on high A. The oboe makes a final declamatory statement,“Enough’s Enough.”  


Alyssa Morris has delighted audiences around the world with her “exceptional” and “soulful” musicianship (Fanfare Magazine). Alyssa serves as Assistant Professor of Oboe at Kansas State University and as the principal oboist of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra and Wichita Grand Opera.  She has appeared as a soloist in venues throughout the United States, Scandinavia, the British Isles, and Western Europe.  Alyssa has previously held the position of Associate Principal Oboe in the Richmond (IN) Symphony Orchestra, and second oboe in the Utah Wind Symphony.  Her recent CD album release via MSR Classics, “A Higher Place,” has been hailed by American Record Guide as “gorgeous and thoughtful” with “stunning” performances, “unmistakable…virtuosity” and “deft emotional timing.” 

Regarding her equally expansive work as a composer, the American Record Guide writes that Dr. Morris’s music “has charm, piquancy, verve, and most importantly, substance.” Her chamber music is performed extensively around the world, and has been presented at the national and international conventions of IDRS, ICA, NFA, and SCI.  Dr. Morris is an International Barlow Composition Commission Award Winner.  She has additionally been commissioned to write music for the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Air Force Woodwind Quintet, and Carolyn Hove (principal English horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) to name a few. Dr. Morris’s music has been recorded on the Equilibrium, Centaur, and MSR Classics labels.

Dr. Morris earned her BM and MM degrees at Brigham Young University, where she studied with Dr. Geralyn Giovannetti. She earned her DMA at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with Dr. Mark Ostoich.