Assembling an anthem, with assistance from Whitman
July 3, 2017
"An Die Musik" premiered in Fredonia
December 4, 2017
One last glance at '16
January 4, 2017
So last year (as we now can gleefully refer to 2016) can be unhesitatingly described as all over the place (and that's kind!). As we step over the threshold of the new year with both feet, I thought I'd write a bit about some musical highlights of my 2016:
January/February: New Music Gathering at Peabody! Great to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones, and I was honored to have two works presented: Letters from Zeldafeaturing Lisa Perry and Great Noise Ensemble (directed by Armando Bayolo), and the premiere of caracola for soprano, flute, and harp performed by Ensemble Encanto as part of the "Voces de Lorca" project. Ensemble Encanto gave an encore performance of the work at St. David's Episcopal Church in Roland Park later in February.
April: I gave a talk on the life and work of Pierre Boulez, entitled "Boulez: An Unfinished Legacy", at the American University Art Museum, as part of the Interference Intermedia Collective concert. This concert, presented in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, featured electroacoustic works by DC-area composers.
May: SD tours his Alma Maters! Fortunate to have three performances at each of my old school stomping grounds:
- a new commencement anthem for SUNY Fredonia, titled To You (text: Langston Hughes), written for the Fredonia College Choir and their conductor and my good friend, Dr. Gerald Gray. (Score and recording forthcoming)
- in nearby Baltimore, mezzo-soprano Claire Galloway Weberresurrected my Parker Cycle, a cabaret-style setting of texts by Dorothy Parker, in a terrific recital given at the Baltimore War Memorial. The Arts Initiative at the War Memorial is run by my good comrade (and composer extraordinaire) Joshua Bornfield.
June: I started this blog! (And, looking back, I need to contribute *much* more to it... #NewYearsResolution)
July: In a response to a maelstrom of social media activity around what I referred to as Volans-gate, I penned a lengthy essay in three parts on the topic of "Elitism and the Making of Professional Composers". Given the subsequent drop-off of traffic to my site as Parts 2 and 3 were published, I can only assume that these commentaries left a sour taste in some people's mouths, but I did mean every word and stand by them. And, it should be said, as I re-read them in preparation of writing this post, found that they have taken on a new resonance in the wake of the social and political circumstances that have ushered in the uncertainty of this new year (I think that's as delicately as I can put it...)
August/September:Started my second year of teaching at American University in Washington, DC. Currently I serve as Professorial Lecturer, teaching composition, music theory, musicianship, and a host of other courses geared toward GenEd cohorts. It's been a real joy to dig in to the responsibilities here and continue pursuit of what my inestimable mentor and dear friend Donald Bohlen calls "the task".
October: Out of the blue, got an email from my pal Benjamin Ellis (a former Fredonia student and currently an active guitarist and teacher in the Syracuse area). I had written a work for Ben's Master's Degree recital at Syracuse University titled Dance-Suite Miniatures and he kindly resurrected it for performance at the Classical Guitar Fall Festival held at SUNY-Oneonta. View the score here.
November: Was thrilled to dust off my vocal cords and join the ranks of the St. David's Episcopal Choir and The Bridge Ensemble in a premiere performance of Michael Hersch's choral work From Ecclesiastes. The performance, led by composer-organist-choirdirector-wordsmith-buddy-o'-mine Douglas Buchanan was a terrifically moving experience, one that I won't soon forget.
December: ... wait, wasn't that just a few days ago? I'm already underway with some terrific projects for 2017, including a new work for the American University Symphony Orchestra, and a song cycle for the ANA Trio that has been over.two.years.in.the.making! Plus lots more things that I'll be sharing very soon... so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading. Here's to a 2017 filled with lots of amazing music. And don't forget: Ars Vincit Omnia.