Machiavelli’s Conscience

“…cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous…”

Listen to Machiavelli’s Conscience

Performed by the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Chamber Players
Conductor Jon Noworyta

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Machiavelli’s Conscience

Program Note

By Michael Markowski

Machiavelli’s Conscience refers to the Italian writer and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli who is perhaps best known today for having written a political treatise called The Prince in the early 1500s. To quote Wikipedia: “The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that the aims of princes—such as glory and survival—can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.” Think: Frank Underwood from House of Cards. This is where the word “Machiavellian” comes from. When a person is described as being Machiavellian, he or she is allegedly “cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics or in advancing one’s career.” The more I discovered Machiavelli (who wasn’t known for always writing this darkly… he wrote comedies and plays and songs, too), the more I became fascinated by how a person like this could possibly come to some of these morally-outrageous but politically-justified conclusions. At its core, I think the octet imagines the cogs of such a conflicted mind at work as it searches for a way to justify these radical ideas in the name of power and ego.

Machiavelli’s Conscience premiered on April 23, 2017 at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, under the direction of Sean Smith. The musicians were: Tori Lupinek (flute), Anjali Sivaainkaran (clarinet), Annie Lyle Mason (bassoon), Garrett Jones (bassoon), Ashley Hedlund (trumpet), Dylan Meyer (trumpet), Brandon Jarot (trombone), Reid Lasley (bass trombone).

Commissioned By

Joe Busuito

Limestone College
Dr. Patrick K. Carney

Kelly Cartwright

Arizona State University
Dr. Jason Caslor

Northwestern University
Daniel Cook

Michael S. Douty

University of Arkansas New Music Ensemble
Dr. Jamal Duncan

Westchester Symphonic Winds
Curt Ebersole

Edinburg CISD Music Teachers (Edinburg, TX),

Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Joanne Heaton

Acadia University
Dr. Mark Hopkins

Mark P. Johnson

Matthew R. King

Jacob Klingbeil

College Conservatory of Music University of Cincinnati
Jon S. Noworyta

Alan D. Perkins

University of Illinois
Dr. Elizabeth B. Peterson

University of South Alabama
Dr. Jason Rinehart

University of Georgia
Matthew Sadowski

Shannon M. Shaker

University of Illinois
Sean D. Smith

Hope College
Dr. Gabe Southard

University of Illinois
Will Sugg

M. E. Unhjem


Machiavelli’s Conscience premiered on September 27, 2019 at Hartwick College (Oneonta, New York) performed by the Hartwick College Faculty Wind Octet conducted by Andrew Pease.

View program here.


Markowski Creative (ASCAP)


B-flat Clarinet
Bassoon 1 & 2
C Trumpet 1 & 2
Bass Trombone


No known errata.

Year Completed


Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A


Chamber Music