Panaiotis Music


Dance Related

Golden Proportions

Derived Drift Works





Fantasy for Handbells

Short work for handbells (1997)

Lullaby for Katie & Troy

After a calm introduction, things get a bit raucous. Then gradually calmer, and calmer, and calm….good night. (2002)


Awakening: 22 minute chamber work for soprano, tenor, flute, clarinets, cello, percussion, and piano, with live performance electronics.
Original title: Frankie and Eva. Commissioned by the American Dance Festival to collaborate with choreographer Kevin McGee on an original dance work as part of the Young Choreographers and Composers Residency Program, June, 1991.

The Ballad of Frankie Silver

Performance History

The Ballad of Frankie Silver was commissioned by the Lehman Dance Company (1982; revised 1986). Chamber work for mezzo-soprano, guitar, percussion, piano, prepared piano, violin, viola, and contrabass. Dur: 32 min. Premiered in Basel, Switzerland, June 16–20, 1992 by the Tanz Ensemble Cathy Sharp. Additional performances by TECS; Second Recontres Choregraphiques Internationales, Neuchatel, Switzerland Aug. 10, 1994; Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne, Basel, Switzerland, Oct. 18–23, 1994; American Music Festival, Bonn, Germany, Nov. 1995; UGA Arts96 as part of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Athens, GA July 23 and 24, 1996. Michele Spiro-voice.

In 1981 the choreographer John Lehman asked me to write music for a dance work to be presented in a group of three on North Carolina murder legends. He had choreographed two but could not find music appropriate for the third. It was the story of Frankie Silver, an Appalachian backwoods woman who killed her husband with an ax in 1831 and attempted to conceal the crime by burning his body.

I studied everything I could find on the subject in several libraries, mainly those of North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sources included the sketchy court records, diverse journalistic accounts, and books of North Carolina history and folklore. Few details of what occurred were recorded, so I pieced together a narrative I thought possibly true and usable for my purpose, deviating from the most likely accounts only to clarify events and to develop character relationships.

A poem Frankie is said to have recited on the gallows prior to her execution has been published in several versions. It was preserved through oral tradition before being written down. The poem is a confession of remorse with no detail of what actually took place. I developed a version of the poem for use as the basis for the music, taking editorial liberties.

My scenario begins with Frankie on the gallows. There and later she is represented by a singer who begins the piece with six stanzas of the poem. As the poem is heard, the dancer portraying Frankie enters and assumes the role.

The narrative then reverts to the day of the murder. Frankie’s husband Charlie is a womanizer who physically abuses Frankie; her motives are jealousy and self-defense. There is a social work-bee followed by a brief affair between Charlie and a neighbor woman. When Frankie intervenes Charlie attacks her. He then shows remorse, and they share a few tender moments together. Neighbors interrupt them for a hoe-down. During this public dance Charlie erotically entertains another woman as Frankie watches from a distance.

After the party Frankie reproaches her husband, who beats her before collapsing in drunken stupor. The next two verses of the poem are explored for their dramatic potential as Frankie contemplates what to do. We are now inside her tortured mind, and the singer’s phrases and syllables become increasingly fragmented. This builds to the ax fall.

Afterwards, as Frankie regains her composure the neighbors enter in search of Charlie. There is a frantic passage of Frankie’s denial and attempt to escape her accusers, but she is cornered and seized. The singer presents two more verses as Frankie’s mood evolves from hysteria to resignation.

Frankie is led to the gallows. The three final verses are sung as we return to where the narrative began.


The first version was composed in 1982 while I was working on my the University of California at San Diego. The music was performed without dance, sung by Eva Wielgat, an actress working on a graduate degree in drama. Music Department singers refused to perform it because of the gruesome story-line and the murder music, which requires dramatic vocalise rather than singing.

I made revisions in 1986 in preparation for a vocal recital given by Michele Spiro. Funding difficulties continually postponed a dance premier, and John Lehman died in 1990 (yr?) of Leukemia. Cathy Sharp, formerly a principal dramatic soloist for Basler Ballet, had heard a tape of the 1982 concert; she formed her own company in 1991 and requested permission to premier the work in Basel, Switzerland.

Although I provided a scenario, I suggested Ms. Sharp use it only as a guide to the music. She reviewed my source material, studied the scenario and score, and her judicious deviations from my narrative created fine dramatic counterpoint between music and dance. Tanz Ensemble Cathy Sharp premiered The Ballad of Frankie Silver at the Kulturwerkstatt Kaserne, Basel, On June 16, 1992 with Michele Spiro, singer, and Loya Moloy, dancer, as Frankie Silver.

The backwoods couple lived with their one year old child in the North Carolina Appalachians in Burke County near the border of Tennessee. As Charlie prepared for his winter hunt, Frankie persuaded him to cut additional firewood for her, since he might be away several weeks. On December 22, 1881, she prepared a heavy meal for him. The work, the meal, and liquor put Charlie into a very deep sleep: an easy target for Frankie. But there was not enough wood to burn the entire body, and she buried the remains under the cabin and in the woods.

The following pieces were created for several dance works choreographed by Jennifer Predock-Linnell.


This is the audio of a collaborative dance and video. Choreographed by Jennifer Predock-Linnell. Video by Joyce Neimanas.

This is a series of pieces derived from the first one, a short multi-movement piano piece I wrote for my nephew Anthony.

The recording here is a synthesized rendering of Psalm 57

This is the first derivative of Continental Drift, which includes expanded versions of Lava Lake and Glaciers scored for brass quintet with organ. It was premiered at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, Florida.

This was later expanded further and scored for brass ensemble and organ. It was renamed Journey to Avalon and includes a fanfare of sorts.

Wind Ensemble and Percussion (1998)

This is an expanded version of the Journey to Avalon for Brass Ensemble and Organ derivative, which also includes the fanfare. It is scored for symphonic wind ensemble and percussion. It was premiered at Stetson University. This recording is a synthesized rendering.

This derivative closely resembles the original Continental Drift. Scored for various piano trios by request of La Jolla Conservatory of Music. It follows the same multi-piece structure with a few exceptions as you can see from the movement titles. The recording here is a synthesized rendering. The score is available by request.

Golden Proportions A

Golden Proportion #1 score

My first use of the golden proportion and Fibonacci series to structure the music rhythm, meter, and tempi.

Christina Davis, a member of a family of musicians dear to me, asked me if I knew if the golden proportion was found in examples of music; she was writing a research paper on the topic of the golden ratio. I told her about a shakuhachi piece I had analyzed in which I discovered that a very magical musical event occurred at the golden proportion. What amazed me was that the piece is not notated, and it is a meditation piece with arhythmic phrases determined by breathing.

I had been interested in the golden ratio and Fibonacci series but hadn’t really thought about applying it compositionally. Christina’s request inspired me to derive a rhythmic structure that nested the ratio and its inversion eight levels deep. I then composed a piece using this structure.

Golden Proportions #1 is scored for the instruments of the Davis family, who performed this studio recording with Alan, french horn; Christina, flute; Rebecca, violin; Sarah, cello; and Susan, flute.

This piece seems to have disappeared.

Golden Proportion #3 score

This is a hybrid piece in which Part 1 is scored for trumpet and piano. Parts 2 & 3 can be performed with trumpet and piano, but the preferred accompaniment is synthesized.

This is a studio recording with Chris Dolske, trumpet. Part 1 is a live recording with piano. Parts 2 & 3 use synthesized accompaniment.

These were originally for organ but then scored for chamber ensemble as part of a performance art work with cell phones. The recordings here are set without the cell phone component.

When All Paths are Peace was written in response to the 911 terrorist attack. The opening text is Donna Nobis Pacem. Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis phonetically backwards, representing the antithesis of peace.

It was premiered by my Orlando group The Vocables at a World Trade Organization convention in Orlando, Florida. We were then invited to perform it at Orlando City Hall. It was also performed in Santa Fe by the Santa Fe Desert Choral.

The performance recording is a studio recording by The Vocables.

This orchestra and electronics piece depicts the journey of a solar flare from the sun to the earth. It was commissioned by the Santa Fe Community Orchestra. The premier was conducted by Oliver Prezant. This is a simulated rendering of the piece. The score is available on request.

Music for a 360 Full Dome film by Hue Walker.

Chamber Ensemble composition commissioned and premiered by the La Jolla Conservatory of Music. This recording is a synthesized rendering.

Golden Age Score

For the 2013 John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium I was commissioned to compose a tribute to Igor Stravinsky to be performed at the symposium. My inspiration came from Le Sacre du Printemps.

Ariel Piano Score.

Ariel is a spirit character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This piano piece was inspired by the Basler Marionetten Theater production in Basel, Switzerland, for which I created the music and sound track. The recording here is a synthesized rendering.

Score and recording can be found in Derived Drift Works above.

Six (okay, seven) one-minute piano pieces. Score and recordings can be found in Golden Proportions Works above.

Something Normal Piano Score.

My sister Athena asked me to write a piano piece for her. The only stipulation was that it needed to be something normal, hence the title.

Winter Suite Piano Score.

A suite of short piano pieces. The original was an electronic piece created for a dance work. The recording here is a synthesized rendering of the piano version.

The text for these two works are excerpts from Song of Solomon.

The two songs were originally composed in 4/4 as the processional and recessional for my wedding and performed by the Cary Concert Singers (Cary, North Carolina). After the wedding I went back to finalize the score and discovered that, while they were barred in 4/4, were not composed in 4/4, so I re-barred the music to reflect the actual meter.

I directed a performance of Arise My Love at a Spring festival in upstate New York on a farm. I conducted and sang in the performance, so I was in the group facing the audience. Behind us was a horse coral. I was told after the performance that the horses don’t particularly like music and tend to move to the far end of the coral when music is played or performed. What amazed the owner was that for Arise My Love, the horses moved as close as possible to us, and literally danced to the music.

This recording is a performance by a pick-up group that I occasionally put together (The Vocables) to do various pieces, including When All Paths Are Peace below.

This recording is arranged for chamber ensemble without voiceThis recording is arranged for chamber ensemble without voice.

Parody of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Text by Michele Spiro. Chamber duet for soprano and baritone.

Score for soprano, bass, and piano.

The melody of this piece is from a collection of English tunes called Piae Cantiones (1582). I have arranged an assortment of spring-tide and Christmas-tide settings.

This recording is a performance by the Bach Festival Chorus of Winter Park with brass ensemble. The text is a Christmas setting.

See info and score of this piece in the Golden Proportions A section

Boogie Woogie Buglers

Originally transcribed from a vocal arrangement, I added bugle calls and rearranged it for three trumpets and piano. Full Score

Hanukka Song

Score for Bb instrument and piano

Good Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Originally a choral work for choir and brass, this is an arrangement for orchestra, performed here electronically. It is a theme and variations. The music is also known as God rest you merry, gentlemen. Score is available on request.

Poor Wayfarin' Stranger

Score for high voice and piano. Other keys available upon request.

Originally a piece for solo voice and piano. This is a rendered recording with oboe and strings.

Shenandoah Water is Wide

This is a combination of the American folk songs Shenandoah and The Water is Wide. The original is a choral work for SAB,

It is rendered in the following recording for brass quartet.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Originally for voice and piano, this is an arrangement for trumpet and piano.