March 1999

Sassafras Leaves: Nine Variations on a Cryptogram


Piano – 11 min.

First performed by at St Olave’s Church, City of London, March 1999, then at Toho University, Japan, and at Leicester Cathedral, England.

These nine variations were begun following a visit to Sassafas Point, a small promontory into Lake Ontario at Hamilton. The name “Sassafras” is used as a musical cipher – Eb, A, Eb, Eb, A, F, Ré, A, Eb. The openings of the 5th Variation and the 7th Variation, as performed by Masyuki Tayama, appear as clips here.


  • 1
    Sassafras Leaves - Variation 5
  • 2
    Sassafras Leaves - Variation 7

Sample Score Pages