Composed: 2003
Commission:  Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, David Wiley, conductor, with National Endowment for the Arts Grant
Premiere: Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, David Wiley, conductor, April 14, 2003
Duration:  6 minutes
Instrumentation:  2(picc.)222;4231;timp.,2 perc.,strings


Pulse was commissioned by David Wiley and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra in honor of the RSO’s 50th Anniversary and was supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Rhythmic pulses of differing values exist over a steady grand pulse that is the same for all.  The spirit motive emerges; mysterious, rustling, and whispery, flowing through with melody - and in the end becomes infused and strengthened by connections of differing values and pulses.

In 2013, conductor Caroline Beatty at Texas State University commissioned an arrangement of Pulse for Wind Symphony.  Both versions are available for purchase.


In 2011, Pulse was performed on the opening night concert of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, conducted by Marin Alsop. Reviewers in attendance wrote:

"The opener was an attractive aperitif called "Pulse". The six-minute piece bookended a string-rich central section with funky, deliberately out-of-sync percussive passages on the front end, and some passages of what sounded like an orchestral imitation of a bagpipe in the concluding section.  Brouwer's talent for orchestration was apparent."  -Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice, August 5, 2011

"Friday evening's concert opened cheerfully with Margaret Brouwer's "Pulse," a forward-moving jaunt through a varied tonal landscape.  Atmospheric whisperings by lightly bowed strings contrasted agreeably with lyrical passages."  -Phyllis Rosenblum, Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 8, 2011

 "A brilliant and witty play of motor rhythms with a sinuously melodic middle section - a piece far too lovely to be so short." Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 2011