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Recent Commission Projects

In addition to his successful professional career as a clarinetist and teacher, Dr. Francisco Javier de Alba is a highly sought-after composer for new music. As a self-published composer, he is known for his professionalism, ease of collaboration, sensitivity, and unique perspective. He works with many internationally recognized professional musicians and organizations to create compositions that align with his main goal of growing a community of equality and inclusiveness through music. Below are a few of his most recent completed commission projects.

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Uncharted (2023)

Commissioned by Arcane Reed Quintet

Premiered at the 2023 International Association ClarinetFest Conference in Denver, CO

Inspired by the theme of Our Global Community: Past, Present, Future, the piece centers around the “Future” aspect. The world is connected more than ever, and decisions around the world affect everyone on this planet. Many issues, such as health, climate change, and human rights, have global effects. Thinking about the future can overwhelm anyone with many emotions. I attempt to portray a handful of emotions I experience when thinking about the future. Striving to be optimistic, I wanted the piece to end hopeful. Although we are entering an age of uncharted waters full of challenges and uncertainty, we can alleviate each others’ anxieties by moving forward as a united global community and realizing our impacts on one another. 

Wingspan (2023)

Commissioned by New Works Project

Premiered by Brian Corbin at the 2023 International Association ClarinetFest Conference in Denver, CO

New Works Project aims “To lead in creating an inclusive music community by providing access, support, and opportunities to individuals from all backgrounds. Through lowering financial barriers and increasing representation, the New Works Project promotes equity in commissioning and performing new music.” I collaborated with them in their Mini-Works program, which is a bundle of 60 second works. My piece for the bundle, "Wingspan," plays on the idea of spreading your wings to their fullest extent and how we can reach our maximum potential by breaking past any limitations that we place upon ourselves.

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Misnomer (2022)

Commissioned by Katherine Breeden

Premiered at the 2023 International Association ClarinetFest Conference in Denver, CO

Throughout our friendship, we’ve had a mutual struggle with being called by the wrong name so I thought it would be fun to write a piece about it. I came up with the idea of writing a piece for “clarinet” but the performer instead performs demi-clarinet. I was inspired by William O. Smith’s “Four Duets for Four Demi-Clarinets” and his other piece “Epigrams,” which utilizes movements of demi-clarinet. Like in “Epigrams,” where the performer announces quotes that the movements are titled from, I decided to have the performer announce that they are playing a “clarinet” to harken back to the title of the piece, “Misnomer,” which is “a wrong or inaccurate name or designation.”

Trial by Fire (2022)

Commissioned by Taylor Stirm

Premiered at the 2022 International Association ClarinetFest Conference in Reno, NV

The inspiration for this piece came from a discussion about our experiences in the clarinet studio at Arizona State University. “Trial by fire” is an expression used to describe a test of one’s ability to perform under pressure. As developing musicians, this can feel like a daily occurrence. Alternatively, this piece also represents one’s ability to create a safer, more inclusive environment in music by creating a space where we meet new people, engage in difficult conversations, listen to new ideas, and actively work to make our community better through our art.

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Hymn (2020)

Commissioned by Dr. Kimberly Fullerton

Premiered at the 2023 International Clarinet Association Low Clarinet Festival in Glendale, AZ

I wrote this piece during my time in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, much of my time in quarantine was filled with emotions of loss, anger, confusion, hopelessness, sadness, and so much more. I found solace in writing this piece and used it as a source of emotional healing. Although this piece is not based on any traditional hymn, the singing of hymns has always been a form of relief for me, which inspired the musical content of this piece. My hope is that this piece provides a sense of healing or comfort for those affected by the tragedies of the pandemic.

Quid pro quo... (2020)

Commissioned by Trisha Bacalso and AJ Pratt

Premiered at the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference in Tempe, AZ

This piece was written during the first impeachment inquiry of former President Donald Trump. No matter where you turned, you could not escape the constant cacophony of the phrase, “quid pro quo” in news, radio, and social media outlets. This technically demanding piece attempts to capture the chaos of that time in the United States of America.

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Bahay Kubo (2020)

Commissioned by Dr. Malcolm Jones

Premiered and recorded by the Arizona State University Wind Ensemble

Inspired by my Filipino heritage, I chose to use the folk tune, Bahay Kubo, as the main theme of this piece, first introduced by the piccolo. Bahay Kubo (nipa hut in English) is a traditional Filipino folk song by Felipe Padilla de León. The name, Bahay Kubo, comes from bahay, the Filipino word for house, and the Spanish word cubo, meaning cube, due to the shape of the structure. The original song is about the nipa hut and the various plants that surround it. The hut is primarily made out of nipa leaves and bamboo, and it is a traditional family home, having no partitions for rooms. Bahay Kubo is a symbol of the Filipino tradition of bayanihan, which signifies working together, a sense of closeness, and helping each other without expecting anything in return. Much like bayanihan, the ensemble joins together to perform my reimagined version of this song.

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