Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Semester of Marathon Composing Comes to an End

At long last, the semester comes to a close. The final total comes to five new pieces, and right at an hour of music written since January! If I weren’t a student of Davy Rakowski, I might be tempted to find that impressive. Always nice to have guys like him around to keep me humble.

The latest completions came this past week: I Felt a Funeral for medium-high voice and piano (based on the poem by Emily Dickinson), and Cycles for violin and cello – both written for New Music on the Point in Leicester, VT, where they will be premiered this summer. Amazingly, these were both written in the last 3 1/2 weeks! And right now I even think I like them. Hopefully that will last…

Of course, as always, endings bring new beginnings. I’ve been commissioned to write a work for chamber wind ensemble by my Alma Mater, East Carolina University! The premiere will take place during the 2013 NewMusic@ECU Festival in Greenville, NC. My name’s even on the website! Right there alongside Augusta Reed Thomas…now that’s a crazy feeling. It’s like I’m a real composer or something…

Fortunately, I’ll have some time to get started this summer. I’ve been accepted as an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL, with Master Artist (and my past teacher) Melinda Wagner! 3 weeks in Florida in the middle of the summer, so obviously I’ll be staying inside in the A/C to write. I’ll also be hanging out with fellow Brandesians Peter Van Zandt Lane and Seunghee Lee, and fellow NEC grad Liza White. Looks like Boston’s heading south!

But for now, I’m taking a little break. After I grade papers. And submit grades. Then I’ll take a break.

“Ponder” Premiere

Well sports fans, after much writing, editing, rehearsing, and yes, pondering, last Thursday finally saw the premiere of Ponder for 4-part brass choir, to be played around a body of water. For those of you following along, you’ll remember this work was written for the 2012 Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts at Brandeis University (for most of you, who aren’t following along, you can see my previous blog for more details).

The weather forecast for the day said chance of showers, but the “hourly” assured me that there would be no rain until 8pm (performance was at 6pm). So of course, it began raining at exactly 6:08, and rained of and on for the next half-hour. On the bright side, once the performance was over, it didn’t rain anymore the whole evening. Thank you, New England Meteorology.

But in all honesty, I (and everyone in attendance) think the rain actually enhanced the overall experience. The sound of the rain and the ripples on the pond were quite beautiful, as was the moment when, without being asked, members of the audience each grabbed an umbrella and went to stand with a musician, covering us as we continued playing. It was one of those true “wow” moments in life.

Best of all, my family was there for the performance! My wife, Lauren, was there (as she always is because she’s so awesome), and my parents came up from NC for the weekend, so I had a very sympathetic audience.  🙂 Toby couldn’t come, but I know he would have if he could. He’s a busy guy. (He’s actually my dog)

And the icing on the cake: I found out Monday that I am the recipient of the 2012 Anna Walinska Prize for outstanding work on the festival! That’s much better than what I get for outstanding parking tickets…

Anyways, it was a wonderful experience, and a wonderful weekend. A full recording/ video will be coming soon, but in the meantime, there’s a video/ interview on the university website, and below are a few shots from the event.


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