Riot Act

Complete Work Title: 

Riot Act

Performance Medium: 

solo flügelhorn and nine trumpets (9 Bb trumpets, 1 doubling A piccolo trumpet)




to the victims of the 1992 Los Angeles riots

Date Composed: 

October - November 1992

Performance Information: 

The accompanying trumpet ensemble is divided into a quartet (one doubling piccolo trumpet) and a quintet.

Additional Information: 

Composed on a commission from Raul Ornelas and the Lamar University Trumpet Ensemble.

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 15 March 1994; Morehead State University (Morehead, KY) — MSU New Music Festival

    MSU Trumpet Ensemble; Jon Burgess, director

  • 21 May 1993; Akron, OH — International Trumpet Guild Convention [premiere]

    Lamar University Trumpet Ensemble; Raul Ornelas, director

Program Notes: 

Riot Act was composed in October and November of 1992 on a commission from Raul Ornelas and the Lamar University Trumpet Ensemble, who first performed the work on 12 May 1993 at the International Trumpet Guild Convention in Akron, Ohio. The work is dedicated to the victims of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

The ensemble is comprised of a solo flügelhorn and nine trumpets, the latter divided into two groups, a quartet and a quintet. The flügelhorn soloist acts as the protagonist throughout, playing a precisely notated part characterized by frequent and extensive timbral and rhythmic modulations. The trumpet quartet (led by a piccolo trumpet) plays an antagonistic role; its parts are more freely notated, even somewhat improvisational (though within strictly defined limits). The trumpet quintet is characterized primarily by repeated patterns that are superimposed, fragmented, and transformed during the course of the work. The quintet acts as a chorus initially (serving to accompany the action downstage), gradually becoming more aggressive as the work progresses, to the point that the quartet is overtaken and eventually driven offstage. The final section consists of a flügelhorn soliloquy, accompanied by an offstage trumpet quartet.