What has this composer done over the summer? The better question is, WHAT HAVEN'T I DONE?! Well... I haven't crashed from burnout and exhaustion, surprisingly. I haven't written my dreamlike prog-rock-influenced fanfare for wind ensemble yet [although if that's your thing, contact me and let's make it happen]. Contrastingly, I managed to somehow have an excellent vacation earlier this month with my wife. Lots of beach and sunshine.
There was also seafood. Lots. And LOTS. OF SEAFOOD.
Apart from that, lots of composing and other related projects also getting done too! So, in no particular order, here's a list of things that I've been doing this summer:
First off, I was one of a group of assistant interns for New York University's Summer Screen Scoring Workshops and the 2018 Music and the Moving Image conference! That was a very fun experience for me, and not only did I get to learn some new skills using different technology and other software, I helped assist participants with their amazing projects that they created for the workshops! This was anything and everything from dishing out some orchestration techniques [acoustic, electronic, and hybrid techniques], helping out with various recording sessions, and briefly working with some of the guest artists who helped to moderate the workshops, such as composers Mark Snow, Michael Levine, and Tom Salta.
I had some great co-workers for this internship, which is a huge bonus! Fun times were had.
I've also written a couple of new pieces over the past few months, including one that's just about to be finished up!
Firstly, I've mentioned several times before about a consortium that's being generously hosted by composer Caleb Hammer. He's put this one together to bring to you all a lot of new and exciting music for concert band! The consortium includes my involvement as well as composer Harrison J. Collins.
Each of the three of us have a brand-new piece for band included in the consortium's buy-in. The piece that I've written is approximately at a Grade 2-2.5 level [it's more of a 2.5, to honest] in terms of difficulty. It's a short, but fun and fast-paced adventure with lots of energy behind it.
The good news is that - band directors - there's still time to sign up for this consortium! We're pushing for this to bring more opportunities for music ensembles to participate in the process of creating, rehearsing, and premiering new music, ESPECIALLY for young musicians that haven't had this experience before of directly working with composers. This is one of the biggest reasons I accepted Caleb's invitation to be a part of this incredible opportunity. And, as a composer, it's personally given me opportunities I haven't had before in my professional career that I'm very grateful to have.
The link above has more details about the consortium and where you can sign up today! The buy-in price is only $90, and you don't have to pay it right away to sign up. Deadline to sign up is September 1st, and deadline to pay is December 1st. Consider supporting all of this new music and join the consortium today! And, a huge thank you to the 15 band directors/groups who've signed up so far - very excited to be working with you this upcoming academic year!
My next piece is a brass/percussion fanfare I've written and submitted to this year's Dallas Winds Brass Fanfare Competition! It's a tribute to the inherent spirit of adventure and journeys we take, whether going on vacation, visiting friends and family, or exploring other places new and unfamiliar to us.
You can read more about the piece here and/or view the video score for it below. The piece will be published and made available for performance later this year. If you'd like to view a perusal score, contact me directly!
My very first saxophone quartet is coming this year as well! This was written for an upcoming collaborative concert hosted by the Millennium Composers Initiative and the Zenith Saxophone Quartet, who will be premiering it this fall at Central Michigan University. The concert itself is entirely made up of world premieres by members of the initiative. MCI will be doing a similar concert next spring with The _____ Experiment [whom I've worked with before] featuring new works by other members of the initiative.
This saxophone quartet is one that I've wanted to write for a while for various reasons. First, the nature of the work [described below] is a topic I've been yearning to express musically for quite some time, and when this opportunity arose, I couldn't have had a better medium to write it for than saxophone quartet. Personally, I think every composer [if they can do it] should have some experience writing for this kind of quartet and hearing their work performed live, as well as having the same experience for string quartet, electronic music, band, and orchestra. Second, I've wanted to at some point in my career compose a work that utilized electronics in some fashion. Again, the nature of this piece as well as this opportunity presented me a chance to dip my toes in that pond. Third, because of the nature of the work, it also gave me a chance to greater experiment with extended techniques [such as multiphonics and growling] that I haven't done yet with saxophone, and combined with the electronics, see what colors I could create as a result of said experimentation.
Ahh - I see you have found my cats. You could say.... they just found a meowth-ful of information about this saxophone quartet.
So, the piece -
Essentially, Bread and Circuses is divided into two different parts, although it's only a one-movement work. The first half is wild and raucous. Although there are parts of it that return, and others that come and go, the form isn't intended to be very strict at all. This half features the optional fixed-media electronics meant to add to the overwhelming energy present here [you can see a list of some of the sounds included in the track]. And, although it's wild, I intended to try and give it some sense of musical cohesion all the same.
The second half is just the saxophone quartet alone, and although it will feel more desolate, there's still a great deal of leftover bitter feelings and anger left over from the first half.
I'm excited for all of you to hear this piece - hell, I'm excited to hear this piece live too! Zenith's been a great group to work with, and I'm thankful that they've been so supportive of some of the things I've wanted to try out with this new piece.
I'll have more details about Bread and Circuses coming within the next few months - it will definitely be published and available for performance after its world premiere. Along those lines, I'm looking to create and make available a very basic app in the near future for iPad/iPhone and Android devices that would help to smooth the rehearsal process for the piece. If any of you reading this have had experience doing this kind of thing, contact me and let me know what your experiences have been like doing this. I'll probably have lots of questions for you if you send me an email.
Another chamber piece I wrote last summer is also finally getting its world premiere. This piece I wrote is a slow one and much more lyrical/somber, and it was written for a new group called Harpoon Duet (yes, it's punny. So punny.). They're going to premiere this piece in September on one of their upcoming concerts.
In multimedia-related news, I recently updated a demo reel I've published earlier last fall with new tracks I've made over the past year! If you're interested, you can check out the playlist below.
The film score I'm currently working on for The Force Within is also going well too. Don't have too many details about that presently, but more will come soon.
I also contributed an original score for a fantastic short film earlier this year! Of all the diverse artists involved, the cast is comprised of all women of color, the crew includes women and nonbinary folks in primary roles, and the entire production puts marginalized folks at the forefront both in front of and behind the camera [this description comes directly from the project description in the following link]. You can hear a brief clip of my score by checking out the film's trailer below. The director is also looking to submit her film to various festivals, so check out her crowdfunding campaign here and consider making a contribution!
So what's next for me? Besides the month of August being a full and busy schedule? Well, I have a year left of my Master's degree at New York University, but I'll be looking to try and wrap everything up in just one semester so I can focus solely on my professional output. There's a couple of other competitions I've submitted pieces for, so I should know those results within the next few weeks. This weekend, I'll be traveling back to Michigan to participate in The _____ Experiment's recording sessions for their upcoming debut album Conversations (three of my pieces are going to be included! THREE!!!) I may potentially be collaborating with a few artists on various projects this year, as well as looking for more work in the multimedia world where I can find it. I'll be exhibiting some of my band and orchestra music at the Midwest Clinic conference this year with other members of the Millennium Composers Initiative. And that's just a few things on my plate. Who knows what else is going to come up?
So, lots of work up ahead. Lots of traveling. Lots of great opportunities. And lots of chances to get to meet, work with, and connect with new people out there in the music world.
With all that in mind, if you like what you read and heard, I am always available, open, and VERY interested in collaborations with band directors [!!], orchestra directors, chamber groups, and film/TV directors [!!] [besides the practical point that it's my primary source of income and your support of my music means the world to me]. And, I am ALWAYS available to tackle new projects, commissions, and more. Contact me here if you want to collaborate and let's bring some new music to the world together!
Composer, cats, and food - in no particular order.