top of page


for large string orchestra, Hot Air Music Festival 2016

A piece where all 37 string players have their own unique part, One explores the voice of the individual and the voice of the orchestra simultaneously.

One premiered as the headliner for Hot Air Music Festival 2016 on March 6th with Nathaniel Berman conducting, lead by members of Friction Quartet, Thalea Quartet, Amaranth Quartet and many other talented musicians.

Program notes:

About seven years ago, I had a memorable conversation with my aunt, Lee Nicholson, a freelance violinist based in Atlanta. Somewhat to my surprise, she explained that she was not interested in auditioning for a symphony orchestra position.  Among the many reasons she listed, Lee talked about how many of her string player friends and colleagues in symphonies get burned out easily, often because "they are so focused on blending with the ensemble, they lose their voice." They lose the chance to remember their own unique voice and vision as an artist.  This discussion sparked an idea that years later became One.


One is a large string orchestra work where all 37 musicians have their own unique part. For One, I wanted to create a piece where, "everyone is the soloist, and no one is," as mentor Ryan Brown described it during development of the work. One begins with a solo for the concertmaster, yet simultaneously follows the narrative of all 37 musicians as they each assert their right of both autonomy and dependence. Alternating between traditional unison string orchestra playing and 37 simultaneous solos, One is a conversation between these two extremes where musicians must both cooperate and compete.


One conveys the plight of the individual among the collective—the universal experience of being just one among many.

contact Riley for score and parts



bottom of page