Certain works for piano have deeply affected me and my development as a composer: the Ligeti Etudes, the Ives Sonatas, and many of the early Cowell pieces. I've also long been fascinated by many jazz pianists, most notably Thelonius Monk, Marcus Roberts, and Keith Jarrett.

But at the same time that Sonata schizophrenically connects to these varying styles of piano writing and playing, it is also deeply concerned with new approaches to musical form. Each of the work's four movements takes a different approach to building and transforming musical material via a process. The first movement, "Transitions," is largely based on a simple four-chord progression; pitches derived from this progression are developed in imitative sections which gradually change harmonically and texturally. The second movement, "Terzanelle," is based on the interlocking rhyme scheme of the poetic form of the same name. The third movement, "Recursion", creates a self-similar musical structure by taking a simple idea (A B A C) and applying it at multiple different levels, ranging from the entire movement's structure to the choices of individual melodic notes. The final movement, "Syntax", uses an ordered set of eight pitches and various transformations of it, but also returns to some of the imitative techniques of the first movement.

The first movement, which was written for pianist Aaron Epstein, may be performed as a separate work; it is five minutes thirty seconds in duration.

Sonata received a 2000 ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Award.