Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Michael Schelle


Bars, Chains, and Broken Things is a four-movement work for orchestra with a distinct social narrative: the American prison system. During my time working as a volunteer with the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, I came to know several young men and their stories. This piece serves as a loosely programmatic work chronicling the four most significant concepts which resonated with me. The individual movements are named and seek to musically represent these ideas: “Abandonment” - a common feeling among the incarcerated, “Imprisonment” - the effects and words of those feeling isolated, “Solace” - a state of calm acceptance, and “False Freedom” - a refutation of the belief that release from the prison system signifies the end of society’s punishment. It is my hope that this work serves as a musical contribution to awareness of the current issues faced in the American prison system.