Stephen Cabell


Stephen Cabell (b. 1984) is a New York-based composer of sonically engaging and arrestingly wrought music that attempts to grab the listener from the very first moments and never lets go. His artistic mission is to write music that can be understood and appreciated by both casual and expert listeners.

Three movements for piano

  • Instrumentation: solo piano
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Completed: 2015


These three movements were composed over the course of five years in reverse order which they appear in this publication. Each may be performed as a separate, intact piece or as a complete three movement whole. Though disparate in extramusical content,these three movements are connected by natural catalysts.

A murmuration, the word titling the first movement, is a large flock of birds, specifically starlings, commonly consisting of hundreds to thousands of individuals. Murmurations move not unlike a school of fish—reacting as a single organism. When beginning composition of the first movement, I encountered a murmuration of starlings and was mesmerized by it’s elegant and graceful undulations. In an intuitive fashion, this movement reflects on the qualities of murmurations and was complete in 2015.

Night Music was composed and premiered in 2012 at the Atlantic Music Festival and is bookended by the feeling of stillness and peacefulness in the Maine woods surrounding Colby College at night. The central section of the piece contrasts this placidity with bubbling excitement and mischief by way an off-kilter, lilting dance.

The final movement, Everest, is clearly titled after the tallest mountain on the planet. Though the sharp rising figures in the first half of the piece visually and aurally recall mountains, it is not intended to be a representation of that titular natural wonder. Rather, it is intended as a metaphor for a mammoth obstacle encountered in one’s life. Once overcome, the persister emerges on the other side transformed by the experience; just as the rising figures mutate into descending ones. This movement was completed in 2010.

-Stephen Cabell



Much went into this work and many people helped along the way. I would like to thank David Fung, Monika Haar, Lisa Moore, Futaba Niekawa, Christopher Rouse, Sheridan Seyfried, and Alex Weiser. I would also like to express my gratitude to Kettle Corn New Music for commissioning the Murmuration and their support during the compositional process and premiere.

© Copyright 2018 Stephen Cabell