November – December 2010
Fall 2010 finished up with some great performances. Thanks to David Christopher, the Delaware Valley Chorale, Carmen Téllez, and the Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble for their hard work and great performances of For you have struggled with God and with men – recordings will be posted as they become available. Thanks also to the KAM Isaiah Israel synagouge in Chicago for furnishing the location for the CVE performance – it’s an incredible space in which to hear your music performed!
Work on the chamber orchestra piece, Sounds III, has been put aside for a while to work on a new choral piece for John Rowehl and the Cornell University Chamber Singers, to be performed this spring. Shaping up nicely, it’s always nice to write for voices. Happy holidays to all!
Still busy, busy, busy, in a good way. (I’d forgotten, it having been a long time since I read Cat’s Cradle, that “busy, busy, busy” is a technical term in the Bokononist religion. But I just meant that things have been busy.)
And for some actual news: my piece For you have struggled with God and with men has been named the winner of the 2010 IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble Composition Competition. The group, under the direction of Carmen Helena Téllez, will perform movements II & III at the KAM Isaiah Israel Sinagogue in Chicago on December 5th.
Busy, busy, busy. Upcoming performances:
October 23: Music for piano four-hands feat. the magic fingers of Chappell Kingsland (and me) at Midwest Composers Symposium, Cincinnati, OH.
November 14 & 21: And Jacob Dreamed performed by the Delaware Valley Chorale in Wilmington and Newark, DE.
Date TBD: Sounds IIa: Study on the sounds of a solo violin to be performed in Bloomington, IN soon.
The school year is under way, and it’s good to be back in Bloomington. I’ve spent the last few weeks sketching for the new sinfonietta piece and growing increasingly dependent on Michael Klingbeil’s SPEAR program. In a nutshell, it analyzes any sound file you care to feed into it, presents you with a lot of spectral information (partial amplitudes, frequencies, etc.), and gives you tools to tinker with the file further. An awesome program for getting inside sounds and figuring out what makes them tick – highly recommended!
Been listening to:
Varèse: Octandre, Intégrales
Birtwistle: Silbury Air
Berg: Lyric Suite
Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
Jonathan Lethem: You Don’t Love Me Yet
John Galsworthy: A Man of Property
All is well in scenic upstate New York. The string quartet, Sounds II, is done, although not the engraving, unfortunately (and Finale beginning to do some truly weird things on my computer…). Upcoming projects include a piece for sinfonietta (my first), wind quartet, and hopefully a short choral piece.
The musical highlight of the month was the Varèse festival at Lincoln Center, a real treat (and also my first opportunity to see the NY Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert). There aren’t that many composers from the early 20th century that can sound thoroughly modern while being genuinely different from both Schoenberg and Stravinsky; Varèse struck me as one who can. He also had, throughout his life, really awesome hair.
Back from June in Buffalo, which was a fantastic experience. David Felder and company put together an incredible number of performances, presentations, and other events, and I’ve come home with a lot to think about! The rest of the summer should be more mellow; a string quartet is well under way and will hopefully be finished before too long.
In other news, my piece And Jacob Dreamed…, the first movement of my choral piece For you have struggled with God and with men, has been named the winner of the Delaware Valley Chorale 2010 Young Musician’s Award and will be performed during their 2010-2011 season.
Been listening to:
Read Thomas: Terpsichore’s Dream
Phan: Tragedy at the Opera
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock
Charles Frazier: Cold Mountain
Jane Smiley: Ten Days in the Hills
The school year is over at IU, one year of the doctorate down. Not too much planned for this summer – in a few weeks, I’ll be heading to the June in Buffalo festival, where Ensemble Laboratorium will be playing my piece, January Miniatures (a recording from a previous performance is available on the Listen page). Other than that, things look to be quiet (and productive, hopefully).
Been listening to:
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 (it’s been a standard rep couple of weeks)
Ian McEwan: Saturday, On Chesil Beach
Henry James: The Ambassadors
Diarmaid MacCulloch: The Reformation
April: Reading by the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble of two movements from For you have struggled with God and with men.
March: My piece Music/Musik for small orchestra, electric guitar, and drum set was named a finalist in the 2010 Morton Gould ASCAP Awards. Performance at IU of January Miniatures. Thanks to Eric, Sarah, Ryan, Nick, Sophie, and Kevin for their work on it!
December: Reading by the IU Concert Orchestra of But his shout was the loudest there.