Io (pronounced "eye-oh") is one of Jupiter's largest moons, and so the piece "rises" in that
sense. In Greek mythology (where Zeus is king of the gods), Io is Zeus' mistress, and so the work's title also suggests sensuality. Finally, Io was the mother of Hercules, and accordingly, the work gradually evolves through the strength of the brass and its gradual merging with the ensemble.
Io Rising was commissioned by the wonderful ensemble “Rhythm & Brass," who gave the first performance at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Chicago.