The Wild Called Maxx [ 2016 ]

for bass clarinet, bass trombone, 

violin, 'cello, double bass, piano, percussion

& narrator 

The Curious Tale of Ed Leedskalnin [ 2015 ]

for flute(s), bass clarinet,

violin, percussion

& puppetry (shadow and marionette)

The Strange Library [ 2015 ]

for chamber ensemble

and three voice actors

The Crimson Hand [ 2013-12 ]

for chamber ensemble

and three voice actors



The Wild Called Maxx [ 2016 ]

for bass clarinet, bass trombone, violin, 'cello

double bass, piano, percussion, & narrator

Karjaka Studios - Curiosity Cabinet - NS


The Wild Called Maxx is the story of Maxx​, a young and progressive woman, who is having trouble merging her creative identity with her lifestyle. She leaves her traditional job in the suburbs and journeys to the city. The unknown jungle of the metropolitan New York, full of monsters, is overwhelming to Maxx at first. Over time she finds ardent friends willing to help her find her creative voice.

The story is told through live music written by Whitney George and performed by The Curiosity Cabinet with special bass trombone soloist Russ Zokaites and vocalist Emily Iaquinta . Original artwork by Sammy Lopez feature illustrated slides for each scene, creating a monstrous urban jungle fit for the 21st century with strong and vibrant colors that help create and shape Maxx's revolutionary world of discovery.

The Wild Called Maxx was premiered by The Curiosity Cabinet in April 2016 — National Sawdust — Brooklyn, NY — April 2016. The Curiosity Cabinet: Aleks Karjaka, clarinet; Maya Bennardo, violin; Caleigh Drane, 'cello; Tristan Kasten-Krause, double bass; Andrea Christie, piano, Joe Tucker, percussion; Whitney George, narrator/conductor  | with special guest artists Russ Zokaites, bass trombone & Emily Iaquinta, voice

The Curious Tale of Ed Leedskalnin [ 2015 ]

for flute(s), bass clarinet, violin, percussion

& puppetry (shadow & marionette)



Meet Ed Leedskalnin: a small unassuming Latvian immigrant who is responsible for singlehandedly constructing the monument Coral Castle in Florida. This was an impossible feat for one man to create, but he claimed that he had discovered the secret of the Egyptians and constructed this monolithic coral city using nothing but a small mysterious box set on a tripod that he claimed could reverse the magnetic forces on Earth and levitate these huge structures.


To this day no one can explain how these coral formations could have been moved from the sea miles away to the location where he built this and he did it for a woman he loved who never came to see his creation. Ed's story is retold through live music by Whitney George, performed by The Curiosity Cabinet and staged drama with puppets created by Daniel Fay. 




The Strange Library is a musical setting by Whitney George of the recent novella by Haruki Murakami. Designed and illustrated by famed book jacket designer (and frequent Murakami collaborator) Chip Kidd, the novella is packaged like a graphic novel, whose moody and mysterious depictions of a child’s darkest dream match Murakami’s surreal imagination.

The plot is equally eerie: a little boy enters a quiet library -- “even more hushed than usual,” we’re told in the opening line -- and is sent to Room 107, where he meets a creepy old librarian who leads him deep into a maze of dark catacombs beneath the library.


There, we learn of the librarian’s ghoulish designs and the boy encounters a small man wearing the skin of a sheep and a pretty young girl pushing a teacart, their worlds now “all jumbled together.” Not even fresh-made doughnuts can sweeten the boy’s nightmarish predicament as the librarian’s prisoner.

The Crimson Hand [ 2013-12 ]

for chamber orchestra

three voice actors & film

The Strange Library [ 2015 ]

for piccolo/flute, violin, trumpet

percussion, & narrator



At the turn of the electric century, Aylmer, brilliant scientist-philosopher, grows obsessed with the crimson birthmark he believes stains the beauty of his wife, Georgiana. At first repulsed by the dark grail of his intentions, she too is soon overwhelmed by a consuming passion for the removal of the mark.


Adapted as a radio drama for actors and live ensemble, The Crimson Hand is hosted through the deceptively crude eyes of the assistant, Aminadab, as he leads us through a tale of Science and Nature, of alchemical and supernatural wonder, and finally, through the forever entwined hopes and anguishes in the mutual, inevitably tragic pursuit of human perfection.


The musical accompaniment engages the role of the perennial birthmark: an obsessive, pervasively circular motive that with its crimson grip perpetuates and colors the narrative. The leitmotif, a simple 6-bar ostinato, is re-contextualized from scene to scene, to-and-fro, never in Aylmer’s grasp.