Work samples

  • BYE BYE LOVE for orchestra

    Commissioned and premiered by Ilan Volkov & the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the TECTONICS Festival in Glasgow, Glasgow City Halls, 30 April 2023.

    “These body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands”
    Julia Kristeva, 1980

About Ian

Baltimore City

I am a composer who writes clear, warm, immersive music that focuses on performer agency. Through simple notation or text instructions, players explore parts of their instrument in a way that showcases their mastery of tone and pacing. My work is played regularly in the US and Europe, and in Baltimore I have curated and performed in 2-3 concerts per year of new, often unheard experimental music, as well as lectures on experimental art and politics. I studied with Chaya Czernowin… more

mahrem bir eser

mahrem bir eser is Turkish for “a private work.” The cellist plays through a set of instructions intended to produce enjoyment of the small differences in sound production that a person in a close relationship with an instrument can appreciate, and appreciate their ability to affect that sound. At certain moments the player enters into a private space, away from the audience, where the dynamics of noticing and of affecting and of enjoying are quite different. This piece, like every solo piece, is about attention to detail, aloneness, and love.

This piece is commissioned by and made in collaboration with Mariel Roberts, cellist. It is dedicated to her, with admiration for her tireless and indiscriminate dedication to performance and musicianship, and her amazing instincts with this music.

  • Ian Power - mahrem bir eser | a private work - Mariel Roberts, cello
    Performance video
  • mahrem bir eser - score video
    A Youtube video that syncs the score for the piece with the recording.
  • mahrem bir eser - SCORE


Music for Electric Organ and Household Appliances.

Using material from Laurence Crane's organ piece "The Swim," this piece grapples with a poetics of domesticity, refuge, and being moored against a current.

Premiered as an ensemble piece by Musica Nova at the Tzlil Meudcan festival in Tel Aviv in July 2015, the solo version premiered at the Red Room in Baltimore in April 2016. This recording was made at Spectrum, NYC in October 2016.
  • Ian Power - BUOY
    BUOY (after Laurence Crane) Recorded 29 October 2016 by Lester St. Louis & Lawrence de Martin, Spectrum, NYC.
  • BUOY - score preview
    BUOY - score preview
    Score Preview
  • Power - Buoy [SCORE]

for *current* resonance

An intimate piece for piano and percussion, with all of the percussion instruments placed inside the piano, allowing the players to affect each others' sounds.

This piece is commissioned by, written for, and dedicated to the Current Resonance project, made up of Mallory Bernstein and Shawn Savageau. Their project and its name inspired me, and the title of the piece obviously refers to the dedication. I also found this title apropos of the music in the piece, which is why “current” is highlighted; for me, an arresting music turns one's own 'mind's ear' back toward oneself and experience again and again with each passing sound and moment. The “resonance” of music is, as Jean-Luc Nancy puts it, the act of listening through toward an ever-echoing and expanding self.

Premiered by Mallory Bernstein and Shawn Savegeau at Space Gallery, Denver in June 2013.

  • Ian Power — for *current* resonance [w/ score]
    ScoreFollower's treatment of for *current* resonance, performed by Brian Archinal and Antoine Francoise in Tel Aviv, July 2015.
  • Power - for current resonance [SCORE]

Lullaby, for Megan Ihnen

In 2017, soprano Megan Ihnen issued a call for "Wordless Lullabies for the Sleepless." I answered with this, a quiet piece for singer and an electric appliance associated with bedtime, such as an electric toothbrush or shaver. The singer alternates between lovingly imitating the appliance's sound and adding complementary pitches, pulsing it on and off, repeating until asleep. Premiered by Bonnie Lander at the Phoenixville Community Arts Center in September 2019.
  • Power - Lullaby [SCORE]
  • Lullaby [score preview]
    Lullaby [score preview]
    Score preview for Lullaby

Quaff, for Martin Iddon

An intense, meditative score that can be built of any four pitches on any keyboard.
  • Quaff (for Martin Iddon) by Ian Power
    This playlist contains three realizations of the score: 1) D.E.F.G#, 2) G.Ab.Bb.C, 3) F.Gb.Ab.A.
  • Quaff, for Martin Iddon (Score)
  • Quaff (1).jpg
    Quaff (1).jpg
    Score preview 1.
  • Quaff (2).jpg
    Quaff (2).jpg
    Score preview 2

UNTITLED PROJECT, with Bonnie Jones

The electronic composer and improvisor Bonnie Jones and I are working on a project to combine our two practices, which are quite different in method if not in aim. Jones has developed a toolbox of hacked delay pedals, field recordings, telephone microphones, and other noise-producing elements from which to create real-time improvisations that whirr and sing. I am a score-based practitioner, writing determinate music for instrumentalists to bring their years of study to, to explore their instrument anew with the confidence of a virtuoso. We are meeting monthly in a series of sharing sessions, getting to know each other's work and motivations intimately, assigning "homework" and coming back with meditations on what we can make together. 
  • BJHW for Baker.pdf
    After a session of taking notes on Bonnie Jones' instrumentation, techniques, and poetics, I wrote up this analysis of her practice, partially comparing it to mine to start to chart a way forward in our collaboration.

aspirapolvere, sega, spettro, tenere, possedere

A piece for accordion, electric guitar, and alto saxophone.

A meditation on background hums and the comfort they afford. The title translates to "vacuum cleaner, saw, ghost, hold, hold."

Premiered in May 2013 at Harvard University by L'Arsenale.
  • No video provider was found to handle the given URL. See the documentation for more information.
    aspirapolvere, sega, spettro, tenere, possedere
    [vacuum cleaner, saw, ghost, hold, hold] Performed by Ilario Morciano, Luca Piovesan, and Lorenzo Tomio.
  • aspirapolvere, sega, spettro, tenere, possedere [score].pdf


A small, somewhat distressed piece about two people who face each other and offer things to each other--never sure if what they're offering is getting through, but continuing to do so in good faith.

For harmonica and piccolo. Premiered in October 2016 by myself and the great flutist Richard Craig.
  • Ian Power - please
    Ian Power, harmonica; Richard Craig, piccolo two people offering things and themselves to each other recorded at Spectrum NYC by Lester St. Louis and Lawrence de Martin
  • please score preview
    please score preview
    Score preview
  • Power - please [SCORE]

MAINTENANCE, for Victoria Cheah

Earlier this year I was approached by New York-based multimedia performer and composer Victoria Cheah, whose work explores hierarchy, ambiguity, and the concert ritual. Victoria offered me a quite open-ended charge: write a piece for her that allows her to explore what it means to have a female body on stage, as well as the gaze a male composer writes into music for a female performer.

Victoria and I have a plan for the piece in which she will play synth, midi controllers, a megaphone, and a to-be-determined acoustic instrument that she does not “play,” set in different places around the stage. The goals are: for Victoria to have a performance in which she can be both reflective and proactive about the roles both she and I play, and for the audience to feel comfortable in the space of the music, but also captivated by Victoria’s navigation of score and self. The music will be repetitive, stark, and yet melodic. There will be gradients of lighting that allow her to perform parts of the piece in a kind of “private,” vs. heavily lit, as well as in different postures (crouching for the acoustic instrument, standing forward with megaphone, for example). The contrasts highlight the actual gaze from the audience, while instructions that give her more compositional freedom in the “private” moments will highlight the contrasts in composer-performer hierarchy. 
Because I recognized early on that there was no decent way for me to write a piece of female embodiment, I focused on writing a piece that allows the performer, whoever it is, to explore their own embodiment deeply. The score will in part take the form of a letter, which is partially inspired by Peter Dimock's novel George Anderson: Notes for a Love Song in Imperial Time, in which an old classmate of the Bush administration official who wrote a memo legalizing torture writes to that official, asking that they engage in a series of self-explorative exercises to try and understand how history has brought them to this point. I am developing a series of exercises (in a sense in lieu of practicing and rehearsal) that will correspond to moments in the score that are to be generated by the performer specific to her own embodiment, experience, and meditation.


A long, immersive, solo piece for clarinet.

This piece uses notation that is dependent on the performer's breath capacity and pacing choices, but is not indeterminate. The result is a kind of music that simultaneously shores itself up on a performer's expertise, and invites that same performer to explore the instrument as though it were new.

Swathe and protract. Swathe to create refuge, protract to demarcate. Swathe to create a restrictive safe haven; breathe to push against it and to protract the sovereignty of your space as much as you can.

This piece is commissioned by and made in collaboration with Heather Roche, clarinetist. It is dedicated to her, with admiration for the unique combination of rigor, outreach, organizing, musicality, and sensitivity she brings to new music. It was written between August and December of 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Ian Power - swathe (2015)
    for clarinet (performable on A or B-flat) Gleb Kanasevich - Clarinet Slosberg Recital Hall, Brandeis University
  • swathe - Ian Power [excerpts]
    Heather Roche, Leeds University, February 2016.
  • Swathe [score].pdf