Well, here it is! My very first ever blog post. I never thought that I would be blogging on my website, or anywhere else for that matter. It is not that I don't like blogs or because I thought it was silly idea, but more because I felt that I had nothing to write about or that I was boring. However, last weekend I attended a Composer's Institute where Stacy Garrop was leading sessions on making a digital presence and self promotion and it really lit a fire under me! I have decided to put my negative thoughts and fear of judgment aside and "come out", if you will.
So what have I been up to?
The spring semester is half way gone with week seven well under way. The scores for Stravinsky's Firebird and Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 are making their way into my inner music library for rehearsals in April. ISU is in the midst of seven performances of Light in the Piazza, which I am playing "harp" for. I say "harp" because I am using a synthesizer with a wonderful harp sound, mind you. Of course, my focus for this semester has been on my thesis piece, Vitrales. This piece is a program piece for full orchestra that conveys a spiritual narrative – my own personal spiritual narrative, in fact. It stands now at about fifteen minutes and I am writing my technical notes for the piece which are on their third draft. Like any composer who has worked with large scores I have spent hours of my days editing the score. It is like a never ending story! No matter how many times I think I have it perfect, I see a crescendo out of place or a slur finishing on the wrong note or one note without a staccato dot in the middle of a run. It can be draining but I am having a lot of fun. I get more and more excited the closer I come to finishing the process and being able to put this piece out into the universe. There is a possible performance of it in the works (more on that at a later time) and a request to have it arranged for wind ensemble. After I finished the thesis process I will have to take the time to reorchestrate the organ part because most call for scores do not allow for an organ but I really wanted to write a part for organ, so I did.
There is still much to come before summer roles around!
- If you haven't been following ...and friends, you should! ...and friends is chamber ensemble my friends and I founded last summer. We basically just wanted an excuse to play more music together so we rounded up our talented friends and have created a sextet. The concept of ...and friends is for us to reach out and invite guests to come play with the ensemble or a subset of the ensemble. We usually end the program with a sextet. As a sextet we have performed pieces like Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Flourance, Korngold's Sextet, and Brahms's Sextet in B-flat. We have also done pieces like, Dover Beach by Britten with guest baritone Matthew Mancillas, and Piano Sonata for four hands by Mozart with guest pianist, Brian Hinkley. Our next concert is May 12, 2019 featuring Mendelssohn's Octet! We have some violin friends coming in from Chicago to play with us! You can follow the ...and friends facebook page to learn more about us and keep track of our concerts!
- The final stage of my thesis process will be my defense. Not sure when it will be just yet but basically I have to defend Vitrales to my committee and the graduate school committee. By defend I mean I have to explain my piece technically and musically and convince them that it is a great piece of music and they should like it and give me my degree. This is possibly the scariest part of the processes but I have gotten nothing but positive feedback so I guess I must be doing it right. Let's keep our fingers crossed!
- I have started sketches for a new piece titled Requiem. I had the idea for this piece after a friend of mine lead me to a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson and a poem by Ivor Gurney both named Requiem. My violist friend, Douglas, also brought my attention to Puccini's Requiem for organ, viola, and chorus. If you have not listened to this piece, go now and listen to it! We have decided we want to program an ...and friends recital around the Requiem theme just so we can perform Puccini's piece. Because of this program, I am writing my Requiem to conceivably be performed on this program.
Well, if you got this far in my first ever blog, thank you for reading! I am kind of nervous about publicizing it but also excited to see where it goes! Most likely, I will be posting monthly so I can accumulate enough to write an interesting enough post, but who knows when I will have the random need to share my thoughts or happenings. You can sign-up to follow my posts and get notifications when new music or blog posts come about. You can comment or ask questions on the posts if you wish! I would be happy to answer questions or read your comments.