Many thanks to my good friend and colleague, composer and educator Jeff Herwig, on hosting a wonderful discussion I shared with him for his new podcast Composer Disclosure. You can listen to the full podcast episode below.
Topics Jeff and I talked about include some of the Millennium Composer Initiative's recent endeavors and some of the major elements that will be used in my upcoming symphony - post-bop jazz from its 6-player combo (Emily Dierickx, Jordan VanHemert, Lillie Christie, Kevin Day, Amanda Ruzza, and Kevin Keith), fixed media, sound healing from its solo flutist (Amy Rosendall), and more.
Be sure to follow Jeff's podcast too - he's going to be interviewing some fantastic composers for his first season, including Kevin Day, Jodie Blackshaw, Randall Standridge, Julie Giroux, and JaRod Hall.
Earlier this month, the chamber music group The _____ Experiment asked me to join them for a roundtable retrospective discussion about their latest album Conversations (which I helped co-produce). All of the artists who have, and are currently part of, this group are incredible advocates and champions of new music, and I'm thrilled that they not only represented three of my chamber pieces for their album, but also honored that my work is represented with a plethora of fantastic new pieces by equally wonderful composers.
You can view the full interview below. Go purchase their album too!!
Do I even need to say what's been going on in 2020?
We all know. We've been living the nightmare, enduring it, surviving it, each in our own way. We are 6+ months into this global pandemic and crisis, with the arts continuing to be devastated and no foreseeable plan to address the long-term negative impacts of this chaos. There are short-term plans in place - some of us have been able to meet in-person and in smaller numbers, while others have gone fully virtual.
Teachers, educators, artists, composers, and more need our collective support, now more than ever. We all need to support each other equally - not some artists and groups and composers more than others. ALL OF US. EQUALLY.
So how has all of this impacted me? Well --
Like so many of us, this brutal pandemic gradually shocked me into an artistically catatonic depression for a while. At first, I created a series of Isolation Improvisations just so that I COULD write, but looking back on it, the whole experience essentially forced myself into a creative state of mind during difficult times. It ended up being unhealthy for me - something that actually drained me more than I think I would have felt had I NOT created those improvisations.
So, as we have all each accomplished in our own way, I moved through every moment of quarantine one day at a time.
This year, I've tried to find new outlets for productivity and focused my energies on finding personal, and dare I even say spiritual, balance. I've been cooking and baking much more often now (so many cookies baked this year - so. many.). I started meditating earlier this year, which has actually created a more positive, overall impact on my mental health that I would have ever thought possible. I've been reading more books and articles, learning some new technological skills, and I hope to start learning a new language by the beginning of next year.
Again, taking everything one day at a time.
Before this pandemic occurred, however, I had been developing something else - something that's absolutely now a long-term project (several years, at least).
Composer, cats, and food - in no particular order.