"Gridley Paige Road" – by Matthew Quayle

2007 Adagio Composition Contest Winner

Recorded live, in concert, with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, November 6, 2008. “Gridley Paige Road” was selected as the grand prize winner from over 160 worldwide entries to the 2007 Adagio Composition Contest.

About the piece

“This piece was inspired in part by memories of my childhood years living on Gridley Paige Road, a rural road set amid farmland, woods and fields in central New York state. Originally composed for string quartet, this movement was premiered by the Avalon Quartet in Merkin Concert Hall, New York, in May of 2003. In 2005, three more movements were added and Gridley Paige Road became the first movement of my String Quartet No. 1. The full quartet was premiered in Merkin Concert Hall by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in April of 2005. This movement was then orchestrated for string orchestra in March 2007.”

About the composer

Matthew Quayle, composerThe music of composer-pianist Matthew Quayle (BMI) spans a wide range of styles and genres, from concert orchestral works to musical theater comedy. His music has been performed by eighth blackbird, Alarm Will Sound, the Southeastern Trio, the Avalon String Quartet and the Arditti String Quartet. Quayle has also received commissions from the Almeida Theatre in London, the New London Children’s Choir, and flautist Claire Chase with the International Contemporary Ensemble.

In 2006 his Sun Dance, commissioned by saxophonist Gail Levinsky, was performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Conventions at Penn State University and UNC Greensboro. He composed the introduction to the ‘Round Midnight Variations, a collection of variations by prominent contemporary composers on the Thelonius Monk theme; this work was premiered by pianist Emanuele Arciuli at New York’s Miller Theater in 2002. Quayle frequently performs as a piano soloist and chamber musician. Recent collaborations have included recitals with clarinetist Deborah Andrus and cellist Jameson Platte. In 1998 he performed his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, as winner of the Oberlin Conservatory Concerto Competition.

Quayle is a doctoral candidate at New York University (GSAS) and holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Cincinnati. He has been on the faculty at New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine since 2002. From 2005 to 2006 he was a keyboardist and songwriter for the pop-rock sextet If I Told Napoleon. A native of Waterville, New York, he has recently moved from New York City to North Carolina, where he is Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

20 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Is this is a homage to Barber?
    Not only in the tune, but in the proportions and form. Like there was “another” score on top of the “Gridley Paige Road”. Non of the finalist was original, who are the judges?

  2. Josh Crowe
    Josh Crowe says:

    I would hardly say “Master of Meloncholy” is an appropriate title, for even though there were sad moments, I think overall the piece was, for lack of a deeper term, happy. Though I don’t think this diminishes the quality of the work. I very much enjoyed listening to it. The aspects of the piece that a previous commentor made about similarities to Barber are aspects that MANY great works like this can include. Your use of fugue and more specifically cannon that were employed were well well employed. This piece stands alone from Barber’s Adagio, and I believe that the only reason that earlier commentor could trace your piece back to his is the fact that the name of this competition mentioned the word Adagio. Good job.

  3. Kristin O'Neal
    Kristin O'Neal says:

    Matt, your work is graceful, reflective and so pleasing. Keep up the great work! Congratulations and best wishes in future compositions!
    Kristin O’Neal

  4. Ellen Gallagher
    Ellen Gallagher says:

    Matt, how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to hear such a beautiful and heart-warming piece. As I listened I recalled Gridley Page Road and can totally identify with your composition – serene – yet full of life. What a wonderful testimony to a childhood spent in such a wonderful area. Wherever fame may take you, it’s nice to know the Deansboro-Waterville area always remains a part of your spirit. Well done Matt – we are all very proud of you!
    Ellen Gallagher

  5. Bonnie Gaska
    Bonnie Gaska says:

    Matthew your music is beautiful!! You certainly deserve to win this competion. I wish you all the luck in winning this!!

    Bonnie Gaska

  6. Kimberly Kampf
    Kimberly Kampf says:

    Mathew, it made me smile, it made me a happy emotion. My daughter and I could picture you and Cat climbing the hills to face and conquer the enemy on the other side. We could picture you reading under the big tree or writing your first piece. Absolutely brilliant,touching and emotional. Can’t wait for the next piece to listen to. Til we meet in my chair again.

    Kim Kampf

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Knowing several of Qualye’s works, this work for string quartet confirms my sense that he is a first rate composer and a great musical talent.

    James Stoltie

  8. Dan Forman
    Dan Forman says:

    Imaginative and evocative. Beautiful textures, melodies and harmonic structure. The feeling of space and a kind of easy grandure is effective and moving.

  9. Mary Holton
    Mary Holton says:

    Being a fan of this young composer from a composition I heard that he wrote when he was a mere 17 years old, I am even MORE touched by this offering! He is, indeed, a “commer” if that expression fits. I LOVE his voice!!!

  10. Paul Henry Smith
    Paul Henry Smith says:

    Xander, indeed, the similarities with Barber’s work are noticeable. One of the difficulties choosing the finalists was determining an acceptable level of similarity. The way I approached it was to look at the composition’s own internal organization. If the Barber-like elements were integral to the composition and not just surface affectations it was okay if there were similarities. The contest does explicitly seek Barber-like music, so it would be hard to imagine finalists that did not evoke Barber on some level.


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