Begin, again

Year composed: 2018

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, and projected images

Duration (approx.): 8′


Commissioned by Polish Festival of Portland, Oregon for its celebration of the Centenary of modern Poland’s Independence.

Images must be projected via a projector and screen with the use of Power Point, or possibly other means (contact the composer if you have questions or technical issues).



Begin, again – commissioned by the Polish Festival of Portland – is a celebration of unity, though the mood of the piece may not make it seem that way. Unity in this instance comes through the perseverance in the face of constant adversity, and a nation which has repeatedly been torn apart and rebuilt.

Starting on a unison A-flat, Begin, again’s texture slowly begins to tear itself apart despite several attempts at remaining on unison pitches. The gestures become more and more wild as time goes on, intervals get broader, rhythms are ever-so slightly displaced to create an evolving, shimmering fabric of sound. All this gives way to a bleak chorus in the lower registers of each instrument before finally resolving to the opening A-flat, closing with a brief quotation from the second movement of Gorecki’s Third Symphony.


The People They Think We Are

Year composed: 2018

Instrumentation: piano, fixed media (pre-recorded sound on .mp3 player or CD), and video

Duration (approx.): 20′


Commissioned by and dedicated Kathy Supove.

Video segments may be omitted if it’s logistically unfeasible to incorporate them.




My great-grandmother arrived in the United States in 1913 escaping the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide. She arrived after travelling alone for weeks in a country where she didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anyone, and was completely isolated. Her husband remained in Armenia for an additional 15 years after she left, and since the country was in turmoil, she had no way to contact him. My great-grandmother never knew whether her husband was dead or alive for a decade and a half while she completely built her life up from scratch. Fortunately they were able to reunite and start a family, which lead to a new branch on our family tree.

Contrast this with our current political climate.

Families are being torn apart by ICE; people seeking asylum are having their children torn away from them and face the horrifying possibility of never seeing them again. Babies are being torn from their mother’s arms, even as they’re breastfeeding. There are entire detention centers full of crying, hysterical children being kept in cages, wondering where their parents are, wondering where they themselves are. And there are people in the United States – both private citizens and people within our current administration – who view this not only as a proper but necessary deterrent to the misdemeanor of illegal border crossing. People who have the privilege of not having to escape a country ravaged by violence, poverty, and fear, who don’t have to know what it’s like having to do whatever you need to do to save your family.

While I can’t possibly hope to communicate what it’s like to live through such senseless atrocities, The People They Think We Are is my meager attempt to point towards the atrocious state of humanity that brought us to our current policies expressed through dissonant, fragmented, and violent piano gestures juxtaposed against a harsh backdrop of distorted guitar feedback and pounding, arrhythmic drums. The piece also offers an extended prayer during the second half for those still searching for their lost love ones, and is bookended by footage of the annual swift migrations that take place at Chapman Elementary in Portland Oregon every year.

We are supposed to be the melting pot, but instead we are becoming an incinerator.

Copyright © Jay Derderian Music Publishing (ASCAP), 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Child Of The Sun

Year composed: 2017-2018

Instrumentation: mezzo-soprano, flute, and harp

Duration (approx.): 10′


Commissioned by and dedicated to the Seen/Heard Trio.

And to our daughter, Veda. Welcome to the world.



Vedavearre’s Lullaby, by Tri’ah Derderian

Child of the sun, born of the moon

You illuminate the world around you

May you forever feed on the honey-drop stars

May you always feel wild and alive beneath the moonlight

May you dance to the songs of the forest and lend your voice to its chorus

May you give yourself to the whispers of the elements

May you never doubt that the love held for you is fierce and unrelenting

May you find no limit to your dreaming

The day you were born, the birds danced across the sky, twirling and toppling, as they inhaled your beauty

The butterflies fluttered their wings, racing across the hills and forests, desperate to share the news of your magnificence

The most fair of fairies, blushed and bowed their heads at the sight of you, they flew across mountains and seas, to sing the song of your name

The trees outstretched their limbs and offered their leaves to find your fragile hands

The flowers unfolded to embrace you, they bowed their fragrant heads to lay their lips upon your enchanting face

Oh, child of the sun, born of the moon

You illuminate the world around you

The crown jewel of all that sparkles and shines in the morning light

Because of you, night is now bright

Your voice ignites the dormant mountains, calling to them in their beds, pulling them from their slumber, stroking their sleepy heads

Magnificent child, you radiate the rivers

You set your parents’ hearts on fire

Oh, glorious gift to the world, composed of perfect love and stardust

You emerged from dreams, night songs, and sorcery

The love felt for you is alive and will forever burn

Oh, child of the sun, born of the moon

You illuminate the world around you

Copyright © Jay Derderian Music Publishing (ASCAP), 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Lest We Forget

Year composed: 2017

Instrumentation: flute, viola, piano

Duration (approx.): 3′


Commissioned by fEARnoMUSIC for the Common Threads project (a joint production between fEARnoMUSIC and Jay Derderian).

First performed by fEARnoMUSIC (Kenji Bunch – viola, Amelia Lukas – flute, and Monica Bunch – piano) on Monday, November 27th, 2017 in Portland OR.



Copyright © Jay Derderian Music Publishing (ASCAP), 2018. All Rights Reserved.


Year composed: 2017

Instrumentation: solo mezzo-soprano, fixed media (pre-recorded sound on CD or mp3 player), and optional percussion (crystal wine glass played by the singer)

Duration (approx.): 3′


Commissioned by Megan Ihnen on behalf of Shaya Bendix-Lyon for the Sleep Songs Project.


Want to hear a demo recording? Send me a message!


The voice is arguably the most intimate instrument there is, and singing unburdened by the semantics of text further amplifies this intimacy. This intimacy, coupled by the warmth and fire of a sunset at dusk, the emergence of stars in a blue-velvet sky over a sleepy landscape, and the heaviness of your eyelids as you rest your head to sleep as a burning mind lays itself to rest, are some of the images, moods, and feelings I tried to capture in VEIL

Copyright © Jay Derderian Music Publishing (ASCAP), 2018. All Rights Reserved.