The Elements, a chamber work in four movements, was commissioned by the Washington Ballet and choreographer Rex Bickmore in 1991 and premiered by them at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Janet Peachey conducted the Washington Ballet Ensemble in the performances. Composition of the work was supported by a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Each movement characterizes one of the four ancient elements: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. In the ballet, entitled Transformations, each of the elements represents a stage in a person’s life. Water symbolizes his birth; in Earth the he comes to terms with his existence and undergoes an adolescent rite of passage. In Fire he experiences the passions of mature adulthood and in Air old age and transcendence. The Elements is scored for clarinet, trumpet, percussion, piano, violin, and cello.