Assembling an anthem, with assistance from Whitman
July 3, 2017
"An Die Musik" premiered in Fredonia
December 4, 2017
News! Website Update & more...
June 18, 2016
Summer means I've found time to give this site a much-needed update. So, here-we-go:
• The most notable update is this BLOG!
On this new page of the site, I'll be posting information regarding new works, performances, as well as the occasional essay and (beg pardon) rant. I've struggled with the idea of blogging for a long time, fearing more than anything that I'll wind up taking John Cage's axiom to heart:
"I have nothing to say and I am saying it..."
So, this struggle will probably be explored in a future post, but for the time being this blog will (hopefully) be a useful way to communicate all sorts of stuff about music, art, teaching, life, and my little journey in each. I've already posted a few of the essay-type things I've written as Facebook notes on subjects of interest, and back-dated to their original date of appearance - feel free to check them out. One last thing: the blog is set up for comments, and I'll keep it that way for now. But... well, do I need to say anything more about "comments sections" in general?
• Speaking of teaching, I've just wrapped up my first year at American University.
It was a terrific year and, although it came about suddenly (hired in July to start teaching in August!), I settled in very quickly and comfortably. This academic year gave me the opportunity to teach Music Fundamentals, Musicianship I and II, a Music Appreciation-style course called "Understanding Music", and offerings on the topics of Opera and the musicals of Stephen Sondheim - both geared to a general-education cohort. And, last but not least, studio composition lessons. I'm loving the department at AU, and very much enjoying the new environs of Washington, DC.
• May: Premieres of To You and Rogers
In a coincidence that I was calling #SDToursTheAlmaMaters on Twitter, I was fortunate to have premiere performances of two new choral commissions in May, both of which were fostered by schools where I was once a student. SUNY Fredonia asked me to write an anthem for this year's Commencement Ceremony. As I've done twice before, I was happy to oblige! I composed a setting of a poem titled "To You" by Langston Hughes. The performance by the SUNY Fredonia Chamber Choir, under the direction of my friend Dr. Gerald Gray, was so beautifully done, and it was of course an honor and thrill for me, as both alum and former faculty, to contribute to the special occasion of graduation.
Not more than a week later, I got to work with the Westhampton Beach High School (woo Class of 2000!) Symphonic Choir as they prepared to premiere a work titled "Rogers". I'll have more to say about this whole time soon, but the work these guys and gals did, under the direction of my old pal and (and fellow Fredonia Chamber Singer alum!) Eric Rubinstein, was a really unforgettable experience.
I hope to have recordings of both of these works to share (with score) shortly. Check back...
• Caracola for soprano, flute and harp
This new work, written as part of harpist Jasmine Hogan's "Voces de Lorca" project, was premiered at the 2016 New Music Gathering, held at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. Here's a page with a recording of the premiere performance, a link to the score, and some more info on the piece. I hope you enjoy what you hear & see. If you're curious, help yourself to some of my other works on the list as well...
So... first blog post down. Whew. Didn't hurt as much as I'd expected. I hope you found it to be a valuable use of your browsing time, and hope that I can continue to offer worthwhile items to share. More coming soon. Thanks for reading~