So it's been a busy couple of months. Work has been crazy, and I've taken a few projects for myself to get the juices going. A few things that I'm looking forward to. Can't announce anything yet but watch this spot
I have been working on a String orchestra piece which slightly delayed my new piece Horizons completion. I've had a fairly rough year with Death and tradgedy. Both my grandparents have passed away in the last 6 months. The tradgedy in orlando, and all the other violence has put me in a memorial type mood. The Orchestra piece is being written in Memorium of my grandparents. Afterwards, I would like to write a choir piece to remember the victims of the shooting in orlando. I am in the process of finding a choir which might be interested in this. Exciting thing to come!
I also finally completed the piece for Kaylea Payne and it should premier sometime in the fall. Here are the program notes!
“Horizons” was written for Horn player Kaylea Payne. She asked me to create something that described the relationship she has with one of her favorite teachers David Balogh. A strong mentor, he also happens to play the Bassoon. Each instrument represents a different element of her life. The Horn represents Kaylea, and her determination from the time she decided to focus on music seriously to today. The bassoon represents Kaylea’s teacher David, and the Piano represents the perpetual motion of life. Life is just a series of Horizons. You look towards it, and because the earth is a sphere, the Horizon never ends. The sooner your realize that, the sooner your path to enlightenment is achieved. Kaylea has consistently strove to better herself. Only expecting the highest level of excellence. Sometimes life gets you down, but she always looks forward. She always makes it happen, and she is never defeated.
I have just recently completed a new work for Orchestra called Above the Clouds, Beneath the Sky. This was my chance to explore landscape music. This work was something entirely new for me. If you have read my previous blog post you may remember that I was traveling quite a bit the last month and a half. This was my observation of the landscape that is the space between the clouds and the sky while in an airplane. It has been an incredibly fufilling work to finish, and I hope that I can find an orchestra to play it in the near future. I will be entering it into numerous call for works, as well as hoping that community or school groups might take interest in it. I did not write an incredibly difficult work, intentionally so that it might be more accesable to a wider player base, although it is definitely beyond the skill level on high school players.
I also thought this was an appropriate time to announce my next project. I have accepted a commission by a good friend of mine Kaylea Payne for Horn, Bassoon, and Piano. Kaylea will be giving her final recital at Arizona State University in the fall of this year, and asked if I could write something for her. I of course said yes, and will begin work on that sometime this week. I am very excited to work with her, and hope that she likes what I create for her.
For now, back to work!
After a six month stint living in Ann Arbor I have decided to move to Seattle. I am going to begin working on a new solo flute piece for a flutist back in Ann Arbor for an organization that I recently joined ÆPEX Contemporary Performance where I'm working as their development and engagement manager. I also plan on working on a new orchestra piece, and maybe a band piece (any band directors out there).
But before I head to Seattle I have a quick trip planned for Denver Colorodo where I will be meeting with my publisher Abundant Silence Publishing. We are going to chat about publishing more and there will be a concert that my string quartet will appear on. This also gives me the chance to reconnect with my good friends Parisa and Zack Reaves. Parisa is a wonderful pianist and conductor having worked with her on my opera and a few other pieces. Her husband Zack is a wonderful cellist who I hope to work with in the near future.
I also have trips planned to Baltimore, Phoenix, New York, and Dallas over the next month and a half. I have interviews at Manhattan school of music and at the Peabody Conservatory so I have diligently been preparing for those. I also will have music appearing on the live 45 concert series with the New Thread Quartet on March 5th while in NYC.
my last part of the trip is appearing at the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) conference with my good friends Ryan Lemoine and Audrey Miller with my piece automobiles, planes and trains.
overall a very exciting adventure. 15,000 miles (that's a great piece name, I'm already thinking!)
Brand new piece written for the Rogue Trio based in Tempe, AZ. They asked me to write something after being affected by a shooting that occurred in Flagstaff, AZ, but wanted it to be about the victims and not the shooter or the political implications. They have been wonderful to work with, and I hope that more people will take the opportunity to write for this unique but wonderful instrumentation. If you are interested in getting the score and or parts, please contact me and we can work something out.
At the completion of this piece there had been 50,219 gun related incidents in the year 2015. 12,717 of those ended in death. The definition of a mass shooting is disputed by multiple sources as different things. Some sources (typically those that argue for less gun control laws), inflate the definition of a mass shooting at 4 or more victims (victims as defined by fatalities), while other sources define victims as injuries and fatalities. Regardless of these statistics, mass shootings in America have plagued our schools so much so that you cannot go a week without hearing about a mass shooting in a school in the media.
President Obama who has been outspoken in regards to this subject has said, “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this.”
Beyond all this talk about gun control, something that we rarely talk about are victims who get injured or who witness these atrocities. The PTSD that occurs is something that is hard to report on because by the time these victims have a chance to breath after a couple days, another mass shooting has most likely occurred and the media has moved on to a new city, but these victims do not move on. They can’t move on. Their best friends are being murdered in front of their eyes. Soldiers who have been conditioned to see violence experience PTSD, but average civilians with no training are just thought to sit there and move on? This is horrifying.
This piece explores these concepts of moving on. It’s a distant memory. The event occurs so quickly that it is as if I never heard a sound. One victim said these words in an interview with a journalist, and it broke my heart.
A brand new work written for Audrey Miller and Ryan Lemoine which they will premier at the NASA conference in Lubbock, Texas in March of 2016. If you would like to purchase a copy of the Score, feel free to contact me.
As someone who travels a lot, and has lived in places that required frequent use of Planes and Trains, as well as growing up taking roadtrips quite a bit I experienced the beauty and the frustration that goes along with the process. I decided to visualize each mode of travel that I have used as a way to display this beauty and frustration.
“The 5,” is my interpretation of driving on the I-5 from Seattle to Southern California on the way to Arizona where I grew up. A route that takes you through different parts of the west coast, there are many beautiful parts on this drive. This drive also takes you through Los Angeles, which is the frustrating aspect of the drive.
DL 1128, is a flight between Phoenix and Atlanta. While I was conceptualizing this piece, Audrey Miller and Ryan Lemoine who commissioned this work talked about writing a piece based off of places we have all lived. Audrey grew up in Washington State, and Ryan grew up in the South in Louisiana. Audrey also went to school in Florida, and Ryan in North Carolina. The airport in Atlanta is the busiest airport in the region, and it would not be strange to pass through this city on the way to the places we lived. Airplanes are incredibly frustrating experiences. The process of going through security and take off is never fun. Once you are in the air, it becomes slightly less frustrating, and if you open the window you might see something beautiful, but then as you deal with landing your ears pop, and again are fairly frustrated.
The Crescent Train, is the train route along the east coast that goes from New Orleans to New York City. As I lived in NYC for two years for my masters, and Ryan lived in Louisiana, This final movement displays my experiences taking trains in various places throughout Europe, and in NY. As the train revs up, it can become slightly bumpy but once it is in full motion it is a pretty easy process. One that I find enjoyable because there is very little focus that is needed as when you have to drive, and can be much less frustrating than flying. It ends with the de-boarding process into NYC’s Pennsylvania Station. NYC is incredibly chaotic, especially at this very busy train station.
Just finished a new piece! A saxophone quartet that will be prermiered by the New Thread Quartet on the Live 45 Concert Series in March 2016. It was a great experience to write a larger work for an instrumentation that I know very well. If you are interested in getting a score shoot me an e-mail under the contact me page, and we can work something out.
Everyone has that friend who posts via social media something controversial. Sometimes these controversial posts have nothing to do with their interest in the subject, but as a way to get attention. Another example would be a friend who starts a fight or discussion because they were bored or again just wanted attention. I personally do not like this, but it happens. This quartet is my response to experiences I have had with controversy for the sake of controversy.
The music uses repetition as a way to iterate the repetitiveness that can occur when these types of discussions happen. One person says something, and another person repeats almost the exact same thing in a different voice. In the end everything resolves, but in my experience the resolution has nothing to do with the original argument so I have incorporated that into the ending.