If you've been following me on social media, you might have seen a recent post of mine announcing the following:
I'm taking an extensive break from most of social media for the foreseeable future. I need to take time to focus on myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have a lot of thinking to do. And my mental health is... well, it's not great right now.
I'll still be posting on my business page from time to time. Which leads me to.... THE NEWSLETTER!!! I just published my first one today. Go subscribe for the latest news and updates - you may find a few surprises here and there too :) like a secret coupon code for all of my catalog this month!!
Last year, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak to two additional groups about my work. Check out the interviews below!
1. THE CLASSICYL VINE: I was delighted to have had the opportunity to speak to Natasha Nelson about my chamber trio ALL I WONDER, written for Sputter Box and their 2020 project-turned-album "Sputter (SHRINKS THE) Box." Natasha is writing a full series of interviews, featuring all of the composers who wrote new works for Sputter Box and their project. Check out my interview below, and be sure to peruse through the full series of interviews!
2. SOUNDS OF THE WORLD: This eclectic new podcast proclaims "Our world is a buffet of music and it is time to eat!" This statement couldn't be any truer - just look at their episode list (link below)! I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to talk about my work, my involvement with the Millennium Composers Initiative, and the current progress of my upcoming symphony (have you checked out our album campaign yet? So many cool perks and ways you can support our recording project!!) with the wonderful folks who run this podcast. Check it out!
I am so, so grateful to the following:
-To all of the consortium members, artists, friends, and colleagues who have supported and advocated for this triptych, for Kevin and Quinn's outstanding music, and for my own work
-To Sean Murphy for publishing this triptych in his catalog, as well as for his continued championing and advocacy of new music and incredible composers
-To all of you who have continued to support and advocate for me and my own work throughout the years, especially through these recently, incredibly difficult and challenging times
Secondly, it is a great privilege and honor to have my own work be a part of MMP's incredible catalog!
I'm very excited to be joining this family of fantastic composers.
Finally, I am beyond grateful to both Kevin and Quinn for their wonderful friendship, for their brilliant creativity and art, for the beautiful pieces they have created for this triptych, and for the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with them on this project.
Some new projects are on the horizon, and the revision process for my symphony is going well! More to come soon about all of this.
For now, here's to a new year, new music, and better days to come.
With the 2020 Midwest Clinic virtual conference kicking off today, I have some additional exciting announcements to share with you! Check it out:
FLEX BAND/ADAPTABLE ENSEMBLE
Here's the full catalog of my adaptable ensemble works currently available. More pieces are on the way next year, including an adaptable ensemble version of The Floodgates of the Sky (I'm not sure how many parts there will be yet for this one; we'll see what works).
You'll also notice several arrangements/transcriptions listed in the adaptable ensemble link above. Keep reading this blog post for the official announcement about this section of that page.
Two other announcements. First:
Back in 2018 - 2019, I collaborated with fantastic composers Kevin Day and Quinn Mason to create a new triptych for wind ensemble that examines, from an abstract perspective, the progression of a single day. Of Day and Night was commissioned by a consortium of wind ensembles and includes Kevin's vibrant Shimmering Sunshine (Grade 4), Quinn's gorgeous Across a Golden Sky (Grade 3), and my own manic work Midnight Skyline (Grade 5).
The consortium exclusivity for this triptych officially ends this year. Kevin, Quinn, and I will have more information available soon on where these pieces will be made available to the public.
The second announcement:
The sandbox of limitless possibilities offered by adaptable ensemble music was one of a few things which reinvigorated my compositional and creative, artistic spirit throughout the turmoils and challenges of this year. Including the three arrangements of my own music, plus one new composition that I've written (also published), I am so grateful to composers Kevin Day and Harrison J. Collins for entrusting me to arrange THEIR own music for this genre. It's been quite an honor, and a delight, to work with these three fantastic pieces and create new versions of this music beloved by audiences everywhere, now suitable for practically any type of performance situation.
The adaptable ensemble versions of Kevin's pieces Dancing Fire and Havana, and Harrison's piece O rose of May, are all now available and published through Murphy Music Press, LLC, as part of their latest series of flex band/adaptable ensemble music. I am extremely grateful to Sean Murphy for publishing these arrangements of Kevin and Harrison's wonderful music, as well as for his continued championing and support of new music and incredible composers.
I look forward to 2021, and the many exciting new experiences, opportunities, and adventures ahead.
May all of you have a wonderful, safe, and restful holiday season.
It's been a little while since I've talked about this upcoming symphony... yeah, I think it's time for an update. So what's new with this piece?
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.