Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Music Composition

Degree Program

Music with a concentration in Music Composition, MM

Committee Chair

Rouse, Steve

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Satterwhite, Marc

Committee Member

Lloyd, Kimcherie


ADARNA is a fantastical work inspired by the Filipino folk tale “Ibong Adarna.” This Filipino story centers on the elegant and magical Adarna bird, whose songs are so soothing that they can lure people to sleep and whose powers can cure all ailments. The quest for the bird begins when King Don Fernando falls ill, and the only cure for his poor health is the Adarna’s birdsong. The first movement “of soothing songs…” is a depiction of a diamond tree, which is said to be the Adarna bird’s natural habitat. Metallic sounds are accompanied by eerie sustained notes to portray the enchanting, yet dangerous environment. The flute soloist acts as the Adarna bird in this movement, singing seductive melodies and mimicking some bird-like qualities. In this tale, it is said that the bird lures people to sleep singing seven songs, and when the bird successfully sings these seven songs, the bird turns humans into stone. There are two climactic sections in this movement, representing the King’s first two sons who were turned into stone. The movement ends with a return to the opening material, almost as if nothing happened, leaving the two lost imprisoned brothers a mystery. The second movement “until the end.” is in ternary form, where the first and third sections are similar, and the middle section recalls the first movement. Drawing from ritornello form, recognizable musical segments return throughout the movement. The first section portrays the third son journeying to find the bird. Along the way, he overcomes obstacles, where he finally reaches the diamond tree. The second section once again depicts the habitat of the bird, and the flute soloist imitates birdsong. As the cadenza ends with the melody dying away, the third son captures the bird. The return of the opening section illustrates the journey back home, where the king is cured of his illness at the final climax. The movement ends with one last celebratory ritornello section to end the depiction of the extraordinary folktale. ADARNA is such a personal piece to me, especially because I was born in the Philippines. Having this Filipino tale as the inspiration for this flute concerto only seemed logical to me, especially since I am also an active flutist. I am dedicating ADARNA to both of my parents, Rev. Philip and Joyce Co. Without their support and love, I would not be the musician I am today.

Included in

Composition Commons