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Five Explorations of the Messier Catalogue of Star Clusters and Nebulae

for solo piano​

Five ExplorationsB. Lazarus
00:00 / 14:44

These five piano pieces are based on the life work of French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817) who compiled a "catalogue" of approximately 110 diffuse objects in the night sky, objects which are now known as nebulae, star clusters, galaxies, and immense patches of interstellar gas. Recent Hubble telescope photos of Messier objects reveal vistas of extraordinary beauty and also great variation in energy patterning – spiraling, floating, exploding, diffusing – which suggest musical variations in rhythm, texture, formal design, and melodic elements.

For recording, videos, and articles, visit the Messier Star Cluster and Nebulae page.

To Be Specific

15 Short Pieces for solo piano

“To Be Specific is a collection of fifteen 1-2 minute pieces for solo piano, each based on a single, “specific” idea. These short pieces are highly diverse in character - amusing, serious, virtuosic, simple, meditative, sweet, wistful, and dramatic.


“The “specific” ideas for these pieces were gathered from four decades of leftover bits and snippets of my work; rough, loosely-defined motives and phrases which begged to be put into final form. Memory of 1977, Tyger, Tyger, Early Riser, and Petit Rag de la Grande Jatte  are thoroughly “recomposed” versions of pieces from 1970-80, while the ideas for Strategy, Dust, Andante with Issues, and Irritation were born in the 1990s and early 2000s. Weightless, Short Message to Distant Worlds, Toccata, and the more light-hearted Off-Leash and It’s Complicated were composed from scratch in spring, 2020 during that difficult period of global pandemic and self-isolation.”

For a PDF of the complete To Be Specific collection, contact the composer directly at

Reliable Sources:

Concerto for two pianos

“Brash and confident, tender, mysterious, humorous, and slightly jazzy, this 12-minute single-movement concerto from 2018 is based on dozens of musical ideas - or "reliable sources" -

which I jotted down in the early 1990s.” (B. Lazarus)

For score(s) contact the composer directly at

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