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CRYPTOGRAM for Wind Ensemble and Jazz Quintet by ELI REXFORD CHAMBERS (USA, 1991)

[#206] July 3, 2023

2017 | Wind Ensemble and Jazz Quintet | Grade 5 | 10'-15' | Contemporary – Jazz based

American composer Eli Rexford Chambers

Cryptogram, by American composer, performer and educator Eli Rexford Chambers is our Composition of the Week.

Cryptogram was written in 2017 and has a duration of 13 minutes.

It is scored for Wind Ensemble and Jazz Quintet as follows:

(3.Picc. 3.EbCl. BCl. Sax(4). 0/233. Euph.1. Mallets(4). Perc.(3))


Both the quintet and the orchestra have sections where improvisation can take place as well as aleatoric moments.

Eli Rexford Chambers earned a MM in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University, studying with Christopher Dietz, Mikel Kuehn, Elainie Lillios, and Marilyn Shrude. While at Bowling Green, he composed and recorded original works for by the Hypercube ensemble and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. He had brief but deeply impactful instruction from artists such as Mark Applebaum, Allison Miller, Annette Vande Gorne, and Pamela Z.

As a performer, he has worked with artists such as Mark Applebaum, Matthew Burtner, Allison Miller, and members of Snarky Puppy and The Huntertones. He performs often as a bassist, percussionist, and guitarist throughout the United States.

Chambers is adjunct professor of percussion at Ohio University with a specialty in drumset and an adjunct professor and Marietta College with a specialty in percussion methods and contemporary repertoire studies.

Eli Chambers developed a passion and curiosity for music quite early: by six years of age, he was taking guitar and piano lessons, singing and acting onstage with a local theatre company, and building his own percussion instruments. In his teens, he was performing and recording original compositions, helping to direct community musical theater productions, and instructing summer music courses for public school students.

Chambers earned a BFA in Music Composition from Ohio University under the tutelage of Mark Phillips, where he received The Distinguished Professor Award in Music Composition for four consecutive years of study. During his time at Ohio University, Eli presented original music at the West Fork Music Festival, the Electro-Acoustic Barn Dance Music Festival, and The Margaret Guthman New Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech. He was a recording artist on the Ohio University Wind Ensemble's 2013 GRAMMY™ nominated album Mothership, and premiered Matthew Burtner's Deep Earth at the Athens International Video and Film Festival.

Before returning to academia, Chambers was commissioned to compose original works for the Otterbein Wind Ensemble, ChamberBrews string quartet, programs on the Scavengers Podcasting Network, and the Ohio University Wind Symphony’s Ampersand New Music Festival— his 2017 contribution to which, Cryptogram, was submitted for GRAMMY™ nomination in the category of Best Classical Composition.


Other works for winds include:

  • Conflux, for winds, brass, electric strings, percussion (2015), 25’

  • Lucidrome, wind ensemble and jazz quintet (2016), 9’30

  • The Unnamed Arcanum, for wind ensemble (2018), 13’

More on Eli Chambers


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