The Picture of Dorian Gray

2019 - String Quartet

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel written by Oscar Wilde. It tells the story of a man who sells his soul to remain young forever. This allows him to live a hedonistic life, with no regard to the morality of his actions. However, in his basement is a painting which reflects his true self. Although Dorian's physical appearance is beautiful, the painting slowly becomes distorted as Dorian becomes progressively more sinful. In 1943, Ivan Albright painted Picture of Dorian Gray. My first exposure to the painting was at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. When I saw it, I was absolutely blown away by the intense and disgusting level of detail in the life size painting. The grotesque mutilation of a once-beautiful man struck a deep chord within me. I found that music was the only way I could hope to convey how the painting made me feel. Thus, I was inspired to write my first string quartet, The Picture of Dorian Gray.I wrote the quartet very quickly but it has taken me several years to refine and polish the piece. This work is one of the most personally meaningful pieces of music I have ever composed.

The work was premiered on October 25, 2019 at Cornell College. The performers were Andrew Gentzsch (Violin I), Alex Norris (Violin II), Michelle Bennett (Viola), and James Ellis (Violoncello).