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While still in her teens, Charisse started working as a composer, arranger, and musical producer for documentaries and advertising campaigns. Later, while a student at the University of Michigan, Charisse took lessons with Erik Santos and Susan Botti, 4 semesters of Electronic Music with Evan Chambers and Erik Santos, and 2 semesters of Performing Arts and Technology courses. Her piece Throb, which utilized audio-converted pulsar beats arranged into a Philippine singkil rhythm with a techno vibe, was performed at the Electronic Music Microfestival in Ann Arbor.


Sea Lion Sonatina (2022) for solo piano [9 mins.]

From a 2022 trip to the Galápagos Islands, I got obsessed with the Galápagos sea lions who were so endearing, funny, and friendly as they moved on land and in the water. A sonatina, typically for children, seemed apt to portray their sense of play (and I also couldn't resist the alliteration). Intermediate to Advanced.

In Winter (2022) for solo piano [6 mins.]

Since moving to Michigan from the Philippines, where I grew up, I have been fascinated by the seasons, especially winter, which lies in stark contrast to the tropics which brims with visible signs of life year-round. In this piece, I try to capture bareness as well as movement in both the internal and external winter landscape with the awareness that this time of apparent death, especially to a tropical mind, leads to the miracle of spring's beauty and new life. Advanced.

Three Rhapsodies (2022, 2021) for solo piano [10 mins.]

I. One-Note Rhapsody (Rhapsody in F-Sharp)

II. Three-Note Rhapsody (Rhapsody in D, C, and E)

III. Two-Note Rhapsody (Rhapsody in G# and A#)


Three Rhapsodies is an exploration of musical multiplicity from a finite set of tones which altogether form a whole-tone scale. One-Note Rhapsody is based on the note F-sharp, whose ringing begins the piece and stays constant to the end, branching out to neighboring tones that envelop it and that open up to varied sonorities, implying harmonies and melodies through multiple layers, evoking gamelan in parts. Three-Note Rhapsody is based on D, C, and E, a melodic fragment that floats above chromatic figurations, pensive yet propulsive, with layers of sound in various harmonic contexts alluding to jazz and the blues. Two-Note Rhapsody is based on G-sharp and A-sharp, which form the germ of the main melody and are present in almost all chords and measures of the piece. The more lively tempo and contrapuntal touches build up to a dynamic final section utilizing the Latin American tresillo clave.


The first two movements are written-out improvisations created in 2020 during the first months of the pandemic, when I was exploring performative aspects of music creation with a newly purchased instrument, during a time of societal pain and personal introspection. The last movement was composed months after, in the summer of 2021, rounding out the whole-tone scale tonal basis and giving the set a more optimistic, vibrant close. Advanced.

Boat Song (2020) for solo piano [3 mins.]

Boat Song is a written-out improvisation inspired by Bartók’s Boating from his Mikrokosmos, volume 5. The left hand is based on a similar figuration but is largely based on quartal harmonies. The right hand is based on pentatonic scales. Intermediate.

Melody in E Minor (2020) for solo piano [3 mins.]

This piece is a written-out improvisation. When I improvised (and recorded) it, I wanted a slow, sad piece that was melody-focused but whose left hand's two-note chords avoided thirds and sixths. I imagined it as a Spanish song, each note a syllable. The result was a type of plaintive lament. Intermediate.

Mysterious Forest (2020) for solo piano [5 mins.]

I sat for the first time on this new bench in the garden when I saw trees from a distance from a new perspective. Waving in the breeze in late summer and partially covered by trees in the foreground, they seemed so mysterious, like an invitation to a new world. The deep greens "felt" like F minor and seventh chords to me. I sat down and created this improvisation which I have now written out from the recording. However, the latter part is meant to be improvised by the performer. Intermediate to Advanced.

Hummingbird (2020) for solo piano [1 min.]

While having dinner outside in early August, a hummingbird buzzed to and from the feeder nearby, which inspired this written-out improvisation. Advanced.

Alchemy (2018) for baritone and piano [18 mins.]

1. In Summer

2. Secret Diversion

3. Flowers Before Dark

4. Rage and Relenting

5. Bearing the Light

6. Alchemy

7. Firmament

Alchemy is a musical setting of poems by American poet Denise Levertov (1923-1997). Inspired by the magic of the natural world, the poems are haiku-like in their immediacy, poignancy, and succinctness, the imagist approach a challenge to the composer to transform in brief moments of time. It is a song cycle of images in the sense of Ezra Pound: “…an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time…which gives that sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth...” 


Each song is brief and through-composed—‘packets’ of experience, usually a transformation of opposites, united by subtle motivic and harmonic figures. A sensuous vocal lyricism is complemented by an expressive piano part than expresses the drama. Tonality is freely approached, with nods to Debussy, Bartók, Filipino composer Ramon P. Santos, and jazz.

The Kiss (2018) for soprano and piano [12 mins.]

1. Before You Kissed Me

2. Four Winds

3. Jewels

4. The Look

5. The Kiss

The Kiss is a musical setting of poems by Sara Teasdale, most of which are from her Pulitzer-prize winning collection Love Songs (1917). Composed more than a century later, the song cycle is an exploration of the kiss in various settings: a life-changing kiss (Before You Kissed Me), a kiss withheld (Four Winds), kisses and memory (Jewels), a kiss denied (The Look), and a kiss finally received (The Kiss).


“Bagong Pag-asa,” commissioned by the Landbank of the Philippines – music and arrangement of “Bagong Pag-asa” (New Hope) for a Landbank of the Philippines advertising campaign, with 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio.


“The Power of the Future Today,” commissioned by the Philippine Department of Energy – music, lyrics, and arrangements of a new corporate song for the Philippine Department of Energy promoting the use of biofuels.


“Energizing Your Tomorrow,” commissioned by the Philippine National Oil Company Alternative Fuels Corporation – music, lyrics, and arrangements of a new corporate song for the Philippine Department of Energy, promoting the use of alternative fuels.


“Padyak Pinoy!” commissioned by Padyak, Pinoy cycling tour of the Philippines (now Le Tour de Filipinas) – music, lyrics, and arrangement of the theme song of the cycling tour.


“Magtipid at Sasagana,” commissioned by the Philippine Department of Energy – music and arrangement of “Magtipid at Sasagana” a Department of Energy media campaign, with 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio.


“Barkada Kontra Droga,” commissioned by the Philippine Anti-Drug Campaign – music, lyrics, and arrangements of “Barkada Kontra Droga” (Friends Against Drugs), theme song of the Philippine government’s Anti-Drug Campaign, with a full song and 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio and played in public schools and venues around the country. 


“Ganda ng Buhay,” commissioned by the Philippine Commission on Population – music, lyrics, and arrangements of “Ganda ng Buhay” (Beauty of Life) for the Philippine Commission on Population, promoting the use of natural family planning, with 60- and 30-second edit downs aired on Philippine national television and radio.


Movie Soundtrack – composed and arranged songs used in the TV movie Anak ng Bayan (Son of the Nation), a movie about the life of Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio. 


“Proud to be Part of You,” commissioned by Philippine Airlines – music, lyrics, and arrangements for its “Proud to be Part of You” Campaign in celebration of the airline’s 50th year, with a full song and 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio. 

PLDT telecommunications company – musical arrangement for a Christmas commercial with 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio. 

Ajinomoto – musical arrangement for a Christmas commercial with 60- and 30-second versions aired on Philippine national television and radio. 


Musical score for documentaries – wrote the music for numerous government documentaries and ad campaigns using MIDI-based synthesizers and sequencers

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