A Cube Dance is theoretical construct that connects every possible chord to every other possible chord. For this piece I decided to take it literally, so I danced around the cube with super fast “strange arpeggios” that are heard at the beginning of the piece. Each time you hear the strange arpeggios you know you are dancing the Cube Dance. The second section is a different kind of dance in which two measures are repeated over and over going through a kaleidoscopic transformation each time they are heard. A slower “cascading scales” section allows the pianist to catch his breath before a final break neck coda.
Composer Justin Merritt was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation Rudolph Nissim Award. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the McKnight Fellowship, the Copland Award, and the Polyphonos Prize. His music has been played by the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and on A Prairie Home Companion.
His evening length cantata, The Path, was premiered at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in April 2018. The work is a setting of a collection of Buddhist Pali scriptures translated by the composer and set for multiple choirs, soloists, and large orchestra.
He received his Bachelors from Trinity University and his Masters and Doctorate from Indiana University. He studied composition with Samuel Adler, Sven-David Sandstrom, Claude Baker, Timothy Kramer, Don Freund, and electronic and computer music with Jeffrey Hass. He is currently Professor and Chair of Music at St. Olaf College. He resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife Faye and their children Cullen Fang Ouxiang and Molly Fang Qinghe.