Rip Van Winkle is an American legend written by Washington Irving in 1817. It tells the story of Rip, a man who falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains prior to the Revolutionary War and wakes up twenty years later to find that everything has changed. My piece follows the narrative of Irving’s story, with the tuba representing Rip Van Winkle and the orchestra representing his surroundings: the community, the sounds of nature, and the drastic changes that occurred while he was sleeping. Rip, as depicted by the tuba, is a bright, cheerful fellow, adored by his community both before and after the time change. The music traces his journey from a colonial town to up on a mountain where he falls into a drunken stupor, to awakening to a new world where the sights and sounds are different. At first singing his old song, he quickly learns the customs of his new environment – where subjects of the king have become citizens of the United States – and changes his tune. Rip Van Winkle is a fun, light-hearted work for tuba and orchestra.
Rip Van Winkle was commissioned by the Denver Pops Orchestra and premiered by Kevin Specht on February 24, 2018 in Denver. The band version was commissioned by the Boulder Concert Band and premiered on July 16, 2018. This arrangement for tuba and piano was completed in fall 2020.