I tried to go about posting day-by-day on my experiences with The Midwest Clinic this year, but with so much going on, it seemed better to do a bigger recap at the end of the week.
First off, I have to say my heart is so full right now. So many fantastic concerts, clinics, booths, and more happened at the conference this week. It was both an honor and a thrill to be a part of it all, to be able to meet and reconnect with so many people at the conference. I can say with absolute certainty it's changed my thinking as a composer and musician, and it's certainly opened me up to many things to think about.
Not only was this my first time at The Midwest Clinic this year, but I also had the opportunity to EXHIBIT new music with six other composers of the Millennium Composers Initiative. This also meant I met a number of these people in person for the first time as well (the majority of this composer collective had been formed online as its members are based around the world), specifically because of this conference. Again - what a huge honor. And what a wonderful week.
I previously posted about my first day at the conference, so I'll do my best to recap my experiences for the other days during The Midwest Clinic.
The second day of Midwest was the first day of exhibition for MCI. Much of my time was spent at the booth, but I did have a chance to check out two events; a concert in the afternoon and a panel given by the Blue Dot Collective on insights behind different aspects of the compositional process. Five of the composers that day presented on this topic [they recently also added Jennifer Jolley to the collective!].
My third day in Chicago was full for the most part. The morning was spent exhibiting with MCI. My two colleagues Kevin Day and Quinn Mason were all at the booth with me to talk to attendees about our new consortium. If you haven't heard more about it, check out more information here - the buy-in includes three new pieces for wind ensemble!
The afternoon kicked off with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony's concert, where my friend and colleague Harrison J. Collins was granted the opportunity to have his piece "O rose of May" PREMIERED at the conference!!! The very first piece, this group instantly, completely blew me away with how impressive their sound and artistry was. To see these students rise up and make such beautiful music at the level that they did today [these were high schoolers with trumpet players KILLING it on high D's!!] was spectacular in every regard. Multiple times throughout this whole concert, I cried. A lot.
The premiere of Harrison's piece greatly added to this feeling as well. "O rose of May" was commissioned as part of the consortium with me and Caleb Hammer (it had also included my new young concert band piece "The Great River Rapid Chase"), and so I'd seen Harrison put this piece together from the ground up for the better part of a year, perfecting every single note and crafting its form and orchestration to the best that it could possibly be. To see all of that hard work pay off so incredibly well, and for him at his age to be granted this incredible opportunity of a world premiere by an AMAZING group of musicians at a major conference, is spectacular in every regard. I am so proud of him and all of his accomplishments - he's going places. Seriously, he's going places.
The concert also included the brilliance of John Mackey's High Wire (hearing this piece never gets old, and the Stoneman Douglas HS Wind Symphony absolutely nailed it), as well as the final movement of Onsby Rose's symphony, an incredibly powerful work written as a tribute to the United States armed services. The last movement honors the fallen, and it truly was the perfect piece to end this stunning concert.
The second concert I attended was the Cobb Wind Symphony's performance under the direction of Alfred Watkins. Another great concert given by another great ensemble, and its highlight certainly was their performance of Omar Thomas's "Of Our New Day Begun." Let me tell you, if you haven't heard this piece before in your life, stop reading this blog post and go check it out right now. Heck, I'll even do something better - here's a video of the piece [seriously, you need to listen to every minute of this]:
The day was capped off with dinner with a colleague at Two Lights Seafood and Oyster Restaurant, probably the most authentic New England seafood place I heard about in Chicago. Other than being completely blown away by the food, it was an awesome experience and a great place to check out!
My third day was a little less full but still busy. It was also the last day of exhibition for MCI, and so we capped it off with a final dinner for me and all of my friends and colleagues exhibiting at the booth.
For a first-time experience at The Midwest Clinic, this was pretty damn amazing. My experiences at this conference far exceeded any expectations that I initially had. Truly. Coming off of a film scoring degree from NYU (just graduated!!!), it was utterly surreal to come back to see the concert music community after a year and a half of intensive graduate studies. The music community here is thriving, and I'm so thrilled and honored to be a part of it.
After this week, I need to come back to next year's Midwest Clinic. I really do. I hope I can.