Capsaicin was commissioned by flutist Kiku Ichihara, flutist Sonya Alexander, and cellist Lee Cortina. The trio had played the composer's works Trajectory and Stridulation and wanted another piece to enrich the rare instrumentation's repetoire.
In botany, capsaicin is the part of the chili pepper that gives the addictive spicy burning sensation. Like in this piece, sometimes there is a slow burn effect that can build then linger when eating a spicy dish.
Honorable Mention in the 2018 National Flute Association's Newly Published Music Competition in the trios with other instruments category.