“Shades of Violet” by Jenni Brandon Performed by Tonya Burton & Friends








“Shades of Violet” for clarinet and viola, by Jenni Brandon, performed by Tonya Burton & Friends on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. PST. This performance will be live-streamed and recorded at the Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006, (713) 522-2409, info@ArchwayGallery.com.

An active chamber musician, Tonya Burton is a core member of KINETIC the Houston based chamber ensemble known for showcasing diverse, underrepresented, and newly composed classical musical. She both performs and programs for the Houston based chamber ensemble. She also a member of the D.C. based Natonya Duo and has played with numerous orchestras around the world.

Inspired by the story-telling art of Jiashan Lang and Anthony Pabillano, Musical Portraits features music that depict colors and images. From Ysaye’s beloved ‘Sunrise’ Sonata for Solo Violin No. 5, to Brandon’s duet for clarinet and viola, Shades of Violet, these diverse musical selections make for a colorful celebration of art and music. Program:

Brandon, Shades of Violet

Bach, Chromatic Fantasy

Reger, Suite for Solo Viola Op. 131d, No. 2

Ysaÿe, Sonata for Solo Violin No. 5

Brydern, Bebop for Beagles


MuChen Hsieh, violin

Tonya Burton, viola

John Diodati, clarinet

“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.

It was an honor to write this work for the inaugural season of Violet.  This work was premiered in February 2018 and appears on Violet’s debut album.

“Shades of Violet” is available for purchase at JenniBrandon.com