Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Renee Coons

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Biggs

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert White


Music, chamber, orchestra, piano, common

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Common Ground is a work that explores ideals of unity through the shared awareness of human mortality. I wrote the majority of this work during the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall of 2020. Throughout this period, including the summer leading up to it, political and social tension was felt throughout the country. This sentiment stemmed from the unjust killings of unarmed people of color at the hands of law enforcement, to blatant errors in the way political figures handled the spread of this newfound disease, leading to more than 400k civilians prematurely dead. In experiencing these external pressures, I found myself trying to discover some point of significance within the moment. Is there anything to our existence that can unify and which allows us to search for greater purpose?

Attempts to answer the immense questions about morality as well as the meaning of life have been made since the beginning of human existence. Some may find their answers to these immense questions through religion or spiritual awakenings. However, I believe that we can find meaning through the universal understanding that life is not permanent. Furthermore, our grasp of this fact can guide our society to be more empathetic and connect on a visceral level. By presenting this reality of limited time, it accentuates the urgency of human connection now. Death being a flower at the end of the grave and the catalyst towards finding common ground.

Included in

Composition Commons