Consortium for a new work (Grade 4)

Consortium being led by Shannon Shaker and Jason Lowe:

Dear colleagues, I am writing to invite your participation in a consortium for a new, grade 4 piece by Nicole Piunno. The theme of the piece will be centered around mental health.

From the composer:

This piece is for those who wrestle with hopelessness or those who have experienced the loss of someone important in their lives. While writing, I am specifically thinking of those who have lost someone to suicide. I want to acknowledge loss, yet provide space and light for healing and peace. I plan on making the program notes short and open so that the piece can be what it needs to be for those who perform and hear it. I’ll leave details in how to approach the piece up to the wisdom of each director who performs it.

The piece will be around the grade 4 level and will be approximately 7-8 minutes long. It will be slower and more lyrical in style.

Instrumentation: : 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Bassoon, 3 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, 2 Alto Saxes, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, 3 Trumpets, 4 Horns, 3 Tenor Trombones, 2 Euphoniums, Tuba, Timpani, plus 5 Percussionists.

*Euphonium solo will be featured part of this piece


There will be two options for buy-in to allow for more opportunities and interaction with the composer:

$500 = printed score and parts along with a 40 - 60 minute Skype rehearsal/session with the composer

$250 = pdf score and parts

Nicole will be available to all consortium participants with email support. All consortium members will have performance exclusivity through March 1, 2021

Payments will be due Jan. 30, 2020. Scores and parts will be available Dec. 1, 2019, as payments are made. 

If interested, please contact the me and I will put you in touch with the consortium leaders:

Or you can contact them directly:

Shannon Shaker:

Jason Lowe:

Grade 5 Consortium Opportunity

I’m excited to write a new work for wind ensemble at the grade 5 level. The piece will consist of three connected movements totaling approximately 10 minutes.   The consortium will be led by Dr. Chris Dobbins and the Washington and Lee University Wind Ensemble.

This piece will display reality as it currently is and reality as it could be. I want the piece to give listeners the opportunity to experience a cleansing of emotion that leads to renewal. The piece will be more in the realm of absolute music and is intended to show that through music we have the power to use our imaginations for good rather than evil. It will be a piece where I do not hold back in terms of intensity, drama, beauty or joy.

Instrumentation: : Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 3 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet (optional), 2 Alto Saxes, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax, 4 Trumpets, 4 Horns, 4 Trombones (3 tenor/1 bass), 2 Euphoniums, Tuba, Timpani, and 5 Percussionists.

Cost to join the consortium is $500. This cost can be split into two payments (All due by Dec 1 2019). Consortium members will receive a hard copy score and parts. The piece will be finished by August 1st, 2019. Members are free to perform the work following the March 2020 premiere, and will have exclusivity through January 1st, 2021.

We certainly hope you’ll join us in bringing to life what I hope to be an important contribution to our literature. If you wish to join the consortium or if you have any questions, please contact me directly at or Chris Dobbins at

Program Notes:

“Catharsis” is a psalm for band that consists of three connected movements, totaling approximately 10 minutes. The piece begins with a fanfare that acts as an acknowledgment and cleansing of emotion. This gives way to a calmer lyrical movement which eventually turns into a spirited dance-like movement. Finally, the Cathartic Fanfare returns as it combines with this dance-like theme.

Music needs no justification. It is a good thing that can be cherished for its own sake. However, music also has many purposes as it has countless ties with reality. It can show reality as it currently is and reality as it can be in the future. Music has great power to help express and release emotions inside of us and it has the power to connect us with realities we do not as easily sense or experience. With this piece I used music as a vehicle to both acknowledge emotions from within and to tap into a brighter reality that exists regardless of circumstances.  

Beauty Broken

I have been intrigued by still life paintings for a while now. To me, these early still life paintings are subtle. They often have skulls, dead petals on the ground, or an hour glass in the painting. Why? I think it has to do with the fact that we are finite. Even the most beautiful things pass away. How much time will each have? Why is it this way? Yet even with these subtle reminders, I don’t become overwhelmed with this reality.

Then the artist Ori Gersht comes along and hits me over the head with this idea. It is no longer so subtle. This is why I wrote Beauty Broken. I had to deal with this reality.

Blow Up, Untitled 1, 2007, Ori Gersht ∏ Ori Gersht, Private Collection.jpg

The Ohio State University Wind Symphony recorded this piece in a reading session. You can listen here:


Everything Band Podcast

Thank you to Mark Connor for the opportunity to speak on his Everything Band Podcast. It’s a great podcast to hear from various composers, conductors and educators. It was nice to share some aspects of my story and be able to give credit to some key people in my life. I don’t know where I’d be if it were not for people like David Gillingham, David Ludwig and Jim Gray. Music is so important and for some reason it seems to be one of the best vehicles to bring out community and encouragement in people. Such a wonderful thing!


Upcoming Performances

6 wind ensemble performances coming up!

February 11th- Capital University will premiere "Solace Dance"

March 3rd-Columbia University gives the US premiere of "Beauty Broken"

March 5th- Rowan University will premiere "Autumn Air".

April 23rd- Arizona State University concert band will perform "Dance the Joy Alive".  Winner of composition contest for the Arizona State University concert band which was held by the Beta Omicron Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.

CFAMC Conference

I just returned from the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers conference in Fresno, CA. I gave a presentation on viewing music as a metaphor and the CFAMC Chamber Choir gave a fantastic performance of my piece, You Shall See His Face. I also had the opportunity to hear the wind ensemble of Fresno Pacific University perform under the direction of Erik Leung.  I was impressed with the sound of this group!

When I attend conferences I try to get the most of the experience. Knowing I'd be so close to some of the most beautiful places in this country, I made sure to visit both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Amazing beauty!

At the top of the Yosemite Upper Falls Trail. I discovered what true hiking is!

At the top of the Yosemite Upper Falls Trail. I discovered what true hiking is!

ITG 2017

I have attended each International Trumpet Guild conference for the last 4 years as my music has been performed. I always enjoy being surrounded by the sounds of trumpet and catching up with old friends (and making new ones!)  This year my trumpet solo, Refractions, was featured on the New Works Recital. Rob Waugh approached me about a year ago to write him a solo.  He mentioned that he'd like it to be a piece that his students could also easily perform. He performed the third movement of this piece on the recital in Hershey, PA.  He sent me a recording of the piece from a recital he gave at his school last Fall, but it was so wonderful to finally hear his big and beautiful sound live. 


It was also great getting to catch up with a former Michigan classmate, Jason Bergman.  He is such a great trumpet player and is a person of great personality and character!  He has some of my music in his hands and I can't wait to hear what he does with it. 

It was a great conference as always and I walk away ready to write some new music!


Aaron Copland:

"It occurs to me to wonder: are you a better person for having heard a great work of art? Are you morally a better person, I mean? In the largest sense, I suppose you are, but in the more immediate sense, I doubt it. I doubt it because i have never seen it demonstrated. What happens is that a masterwork awakens in us reactions of a spiritual order that are already in us, only waiting to be aroused. When Beethoven's music exhorts us to "be noble," "be compassionate," "be strong," he awakens moral ideas that are already within us. "

Over time, works of great beauty can change a person.  These works can bring out the person you are meant to be. Protect your ears from mere entertainment.  Find the music that will carve out channels within your soul where beauty and courage can be stored.  

Upcoming Performances in 2017

Monterey Letters, Performance at the University of Akron by Mike Waddell on euphonium on February 1st and at Akron University on February 11th.

Postcard from Monterey and Solace Dance, Premiere planned at Davis Middle School February 13th

Monterey Letters, Performance at Mississippi University for Women by Dr. James Zingara on trumpet on March 3rd. 

Monterey Letters, Performance by Kate Amrine on trumpet in New York, NY in the Spring (date TBD)

Until the Peace Comes, Premiere planned by the ATLAS quartet in March

Peanut Butter Jam, Premiere at Gahanna Jefferson Middle School East on their Spring concert

Beauty Broken, Premiere planned at Bath Spa University in Europe in April

Refractions, Performance by Robert Waugh at the ITG conference in Hershey, PA in May