Impromptu was first performed by Sergey Schepkin in Williams Hall at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston on March 28, 2000. The score is dedicated to my grandfather, John Kitzmiller.
The dedication on the drafts to this score reads �for myself�. I didn�t conceive this dedication out of a sudden burst of narcissism, but rather in relation to my own inability to play the piano. I often regret not having learned the piano, and feel that if I could change one thing about my life I would be a pianist. This feeling has prompted me to write several works for piano in the hopes of establishing greater fluency with the instrument. The piece is an exploration of the E-Type hexachord and the variety of sonorities contained therein. I did not set out with any solid preconceived structure for the piece, but decided to let it unfold according to where the music took me. Everything in the piece is derived from the hexachord, except for certain areas that focus on what is missing from the hexachord, namely tritones and major seconds. The form gradually took on a symmetrical shape (ABCBA), but revision altered it to ABCAB, which I felt worked much better. To me, the word �impromptu� suggests a somewhat unorganized, spontaneous pontification on a certain subject. My mentor, Alan Fletcher, described it as �Here. Here�s a hexachord. Now just run with it for five minutes.� At the same time that I conceived this work, I was, like most composers who write pieces where the pianist spends a lot of time banging out dark, violent chords on the piano, going through difficult times. Shortly after losing a loved aunt to cancer, I found out that my grandfather, the main inspiration for me in life, had begun a battle against the same terrible disease, and it was not much longer until he lost. This piece is an emotional wandering, juxtaposing anger with love, tenderness with sorrow. Five minutes, if you will, for my grandfather.