On the morning of November 3, 1979, a caravan of cars and vans occupied by members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazis drove to Morningside Homes, a residential development in Greensboro, NC, where an anti – Klan demonstration with approximately one hundred participants was forming. When the caravan arrived, heckling soon escalated into physical violence, culminating with the Klan and Nazis opening up their trunks and withdrawing shotguns and high powered rifles. They fired into the crowd. Eighty – eight seconds later, five demonstrators lay dead or dying. One of them was my brother, William Evan Sampson. In Memoriam: W.E.S. was an an attempt a year and a half after the murders to express my personal feelings about the tragedy. The music to this day pales compared to the actual pain, anger, fear and disillusionment. But, it served as a catharsis and continues to be an expression of my great love for my brother.
Four Winds for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon was commissioned by the Chelsea Chamber Ensemble and completed in October, 1991. The title refers to the four instruments and also hints at the method of composition. Four Winds was written quickly and spontaneously with almost no pre-composition and no title in mind. This is contrary to how I usually work. I wrote this piece as if I were composing a letter to each one of the players allowing my thoughts to follow their own direction; “with the wind” if you will. Only after all four movements were completed did I return and make adjustments. Then, upon deciding on the title of the entire work, I looked for character titles of each individual movement. They are as follows: 1. Impulse 2. Breakaway 3. Crosscurrents 4. Into the Sun.