Last summer I was commissioned to orchestrate my setting of Kahlil Gibran's On Death, a poem-essays from "The Prophet" that I wrote for my Master's recital. I am deeply grateful to director Elias Salazar, conductor Patrick Dunnevant, and the Nashville Collegiate Orchestra and Chorus for the opportunity to share this thought-provoking text with a larger audience. The first two stanzas, written for solo tenor, were masterfully presented by Luke Selker.
Thanks to Tim Waugh and the Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble for including my arrangement of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing in their Christmas program. It will be available from Beckenhorst Press in the fall of 2016.
Attending the Ithaca College Choral Composition Festival last Saturday as a finalist was a wonderful experience. The day was largely spent sitting in on concerts from the collegiate and visiting high school choirs and getting to know the other composers of diverse backgrounds and ages. I am incredibly thankful to the East Lyme High School Chorus and their director, Anthony Maiese, for all the work and heart they invested in the piece I wrote, "Remember."
Our group reflection on the text prior to their performance was a true heart-to-heart, and I think the sharing of insight about the meaning of Rossetti's text was illuminating for us all. The key word that was brought into the discussion that did not make itself apparent to me when I was setting it was "selflessness." The shift of the narrator from asking to be remembered to granting the reader the (clearly impossible) option the chance to "forget and smile" is a great act of love.
It was incredibly encouraging as a composer to see a thriving program, led by Janet Galván, that connects creators with performers and educators. These collaborations are what keep us all connected and make art a living process rooted in earth.
I'm honored that my piece "Remember" is a finalist in in the (see title)! It will be premiered by a high school choir on November 14.
My first composition teacher, Ray Loring, scored documentaries for PBS. He passed away my during sophomore year of college, but I was remembering him today as I woke up with a sweeping introduction on the mind. The tritone progression (here F# - C, both in lydian) is pretty common in space-themed scores or wherever a little "whoosh" is needed. Or a lot of whoosh.
The piece was premiered by the Elementary Chorus at Laguardia. Check it out!
A new creation for the evening...