Commissioned by The Dallas Symphony in conjunction with the Meet the Composer Orchestra Residency Program
The title of Oktoechos refers to the ancient system of Byzantine chant, in which eight different melodic types were drawn from a single scale formation. Here each of the eight soloists creates an individual melodic contour out of a common kernel of rhythmic and melodic material. The soloists are divided into two groups of four, each containing a member of the orchestra's four timbral families (string, woodwind, brass. and percussion). On the conductor's left are four soloists who play in the high register: violin, clarinet, trumpet, and percussion (vibraphone, marimba, temple blocks, and triangle); on the right are the low soloists: cello, bassoon, tenor trombone, and piano. These four strong timbral groupings in the orchestra contrast sharply with the registral groupings of the soloists; hence the dramatic conflict which shapes the piece.
— Robert X. Rodríguez