Jenni Brandon’s “Shades of Violet” Performed by Tempo

Jenni Brandon’s “Shades of Violet” performed by Tempo at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall, University of Maryland School of Music on Monday, October 28, 2019 . 8PM. Tempo is a graduate student-led contemporary music ensemble focuses on cultivating new music experiences in the community both within and outside of the standard concert hall to present the music of now. The program is:

Jenni Brandon: Shades of Violet

Patrice Michaels: The Long View: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Nine Songs

Daron Hagen: Duo for Violin and Cello

Brett Miller: Blue

Nathan Daughtrey: An Extraordinary Correspondence

Shades of Violet for Clarinet in B-flat and Viola (JB 146) explores the complexities of the color violet throughout history as told by the Clarinet and Viola. The title for Shades of Violet came about during a phone call with Elizabeth Crawford – clarinet and Katrin Meidell – viola. We were discussing this new work and their ensemble’s name Violet and the phrase “shades of violet” was mentioned. I loved this phrase and knew it would inspire the work, plus pay homage to this new ensemble’s namesake!

When I started to research the color violet, I found many interesting facts about this color. It is a “true” color in that it has its own set of wavelengths on the spectrum of visible light – between blue and invisible ultraviolet. It also has a lot of other meanings throughout history, encompassing spiritually, emotions of love and passion, and physical manifestations of the color. I wanted to portray these “shades of violet” not just from the color spectrum, but what it has meant to people symbolically. I made a list of what I found when I researched this color, and many of these words or phrases that inspired me during the creation of this work appear as descriptions of sections in the score:





Union of Body and Soul


Unconditional love

Mental balance and stability


Crown Chakra






In some ways this work is a love story – two instruments seeking passion, inspiration, union, unconditional love. We reach this union toward the end of the piece, represented through the higher registers of both instruments– a push and pull of harmonies and shades of violet that I think represent the complexities of what the color Violet represents.