Home | News | Bio | Compositions | Performances | Links | Contact

Deep Underground
for orchestra or wind ensemble

Full Orchestra
String Orchestra
Wind Ensemble
Solo Instrumental

Deep Underground is one of the products of a yearlong residency at Fermi National Accelerator and Laboratory, where I had the incredible opportunity to learn from scientists and technicians about Fermilab's cutting edge research into the nature of the universe.

The first movement, PIP-II, describes the new particle accelerator that is being built for the new experiments. PIP stands for "proton improvement plan," and will accelerate protons to 84% the speed of light. I learned when I visited Fermilab that aesthetics and art were always a central facet to the design of the site, and when I saw the still under construction PIP-II buildings, I was struck by a non-repeating asymmetrical pattern that ran the length of the siding. I found out that these sporadic vertical windows were a representation of the unique spectral lines of hydrogen gas, which the building housed and was the main source of particles that would be sent into the new accelerator. Reading the lines from left to right, I translated them into a rhythm which is heard broadly and heavily in the beginning. Gradually, this rhythm repeats and gets faster, multiplying the energy of the rhythmic and melodic layers. At the end, at breakneck speed, the music imitates a Shepard tone, where pitches seem to limitlessly continue to rise and accelerate.

The immense energy of the first movement immediately dissipates when the high energy proton beam is converted into neutrinos. A strange and difficult-to-study elementary particle, the neutrino is the main focus of Fermilab's current research. It is a challenge to understand because it so rarely interacts with other particles. They are absurdly plentiful, with approximately 100 trillion of them passing through you every second. Almost none of them end up interacting with you. In order to study their nature, Fermilab is investing in some of the largest detectors ever built, all of which must be cryogenically chilled and flooded with countless neutrinos in order to produce the most occasional interaction with matter. The DUNE project, which stands for Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, sends a neutrino stream from PIP-II through a detector on site and then through 800 miles of the earth's crust into another detector at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota.

The second movement of this piece, named after DUNE, traces the neutrino beam's journey from Illinois to South Dakota. We have observed that neutrinos oscillate between three different "flavors," which is a surprising characteristic, considering each variety has different properties and masses. As a slow and longing melody is heard, numerous other instruments swell in and out to create a halo of sound. These swells represent the initial state of the neutrinos. As the beam progresses through time, a second flavor of neutrino emerges, this time adding a trill to the texture. After more time passes, the third flavor of neutrino is heard as a series of repeated pitches. The music progresses towards a grandiose climax, and afterward, various groups of musicians are instructed to freely oscillate between the three different representations of neutrinos.

Deep Underground was commissioned by a consortium of orchestras and wind ensembles:

Albion College Symphony Orchestra, Ji Hyun Kim
Appalachian State University, Alexandra Dee & John Stanley Ross
April Oster
Ball State University Wind Symphony, Jeremy Harmon
Batavia High School, Chris Owen & Brian VanKley
Bowling Green State University, Ken Thompson
California State University, Northridge; Lawrence Stoffel
Concordia University Ann Arbor, William M. Perrine
Cuthbertson High School Symphonic Band, Todd Ebert
Evanston Township High School Wind Symphony, Matt Bufis
Fermi Community Orchestra, Andrea LaFranzo
Florida State University Orchestras, Alexander Jimenez
Huntsville Youth Orchestra, Taylor Barlow
Illinois State University Symphonic Winds, F. Mack Wood
Merit School of Music, Steven Gooden
Mona Shores Public Schools; Jason Boyden, Justin Sarns and Nikki Sanford
Montana State University School of Music, Tobin Stewart
Naperville North High School Bands, Zachary A. Taylor & Keith Pitner
Nicholls State University Wind Ensemble, Jason S. Ladd
Nebraska Wesleyan University Symphonic Band, Joshua Roach
Northeastern State University, Joseph Bello
Northwestern State University Wind Symphony, Anthony Pursell
Oregon State University Wind Ensemble, Erik Leung
Prairie Ridge High School Bands, Marykate Kuhne
Purdue University Fort Wayne, Chris Dessent
Rowan University, Joseph Higgins
Sacred Heart University Orchestra, Keith Johnston
Slippery Rock University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Jonathan Helmick
University of Louisville Symphonic Band, Amy Acklin
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Carolyn Barber
University of New Mexico Bands, Emily Moss
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Bands, Jonathan Caldwell
University of North Carolina Wilmington, Dominic Talanca
University of Tennessee at Martin Wind Ensemble, John Oelrich
University of Wyoming, Matthew Schlomer
Wichita State University, Timothy Shade

Duration: ca 11'

    Orchestra Instrumentation
  • 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bb Clarinets, 2 Bassoons
  • 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C or B flat, 3 Trombones, 1 Tuba
  • Timpani, 3 Percussion
  • Strings
    Wind Ensemble Instrumentation
  • Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons
  • 3 Clarinets in Bb, 1 Bass Clarinet in Bb
  • 2 Alto Saxophones in Eb, 1 Tenor Saxophone in Bb, 1 Baritone Saxophone in Eb
  • 3 Trumpets in B flat, 4 Horns in F, 3 Trombones, 1 Euphonium, 1 Tuba
  • Timpani, 5 Percussion
  • Contrabass

Orchestral perusal score: you may download a sample of the score in case the embedded score below is difficult to see or does not display.

It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie... you can click here to download the PDF file.

Wind ensemble perusal score: you may download a sample of the score in case the embedded score below is difficult to see or does not display.

It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie... you can click here to download the PDF file.

Deep Underground is currently under exclusivity by the commissioning ensembles until June 15, 2025.

Copyright © by Roger Zare Music, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.