Three-Body Problem is a 3-minute piece for Symphony Orchestra that I wrote and produced in September of 2019. I had written one orchestral piece previously for a smaller Chamber Orchestra, as part of my Orchestration I final, which you can listen to here, but the symphony orchestra component increased the number of players I was writing for dramatically.
The full instrumentation is: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabasoon, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 3 percussion players (playing bass drum, crotales, field drum, marimba, and puili sticks), piano, harp, and a full string ensemble (violin I, violin II, viola, cello, double bass). So that’s…33 different parts. It was quite the undertaking, but I’m really proud of the final product. I hope you’ll give it a listen!
The name comes from the problem in physics of determining three masses and their interaction given positions in space and velocities. As the piece progressed and I wrote the 4-horn round about halfway through the piece (spoiler), it seemed like the piece was really forming around instruments and their interactions with each other..and so the title became Three-Body Problem.
You can also download the full score as a PDF here.