On Saturday, November 14, 2015, the Composers Collective held our first orchestral performance. Led by maestro David Štech, the Composers Collective Orchestra played through sixteen world premieres by members from the group at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY.
From the program notes:
The Heroine: Chapter 12 – After being away for many days, our heroine returns home to a warm welcome. Chapter 17 – It seems inevitable that the encroaching evil will… Chapter 23 – A new sword, a new companion, life is good on the road! Chapter 24 – It is all around: war, evil war! Chapter 29 – …if nothing else, her burned flesh will heal and leave marks by way of hardened skin, ready to tackle the next challenge without fear.
I attempted to create a cinematic scape with hard, dynamic sections butted against melodic movement. The solos were performed by concert master Eugene Muneyoshi Takahashi and principal violist Brian Thompson.
At the end of the summer, 2014, I played alongside my good friend and the amazing beat-boxer Chesney Snow for a variety show written and produced by The Bakery. This trio of actors/writers is amazingly talented and I am so excited to be playing with them again this May 1st, but this time with Kaila Mullady.
Check out the promo video and, if you’re in the city, check out the performance!
The winter Composers Collective took place at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY on February 13th and I was so excited to have a new piece premiered. In December, for this concert, I wrote Courtship, the first of a multiple movement piece called Twin Spirits, specifically for the viola duo Folie À Deux (fa2violas.com), comprised of Nora Krohn and Nick Revel. In addition to being incredible performers and wonderfully professional, they are also engaged to be married. This fact settled on my mind as I began writing what I planned on being a long-term project that describes the different stages of love that a couple goes through.
Before the end of 2014, I was tasked with orchestrating a piano piece. I chose to arrange Brahms Piano Sonata 1 and was able to get a reading done of it. I recorded it with the Rode iXY on my iPhone. Quality was superb on the tiny $200 device – all the way up to 24-bit/96kHz.
Arranging the piano score to string instruments was very simple coming from the Brahms piece, mostly because the entire structure was there waiting to be uncovered. Any mistakes you hear in the recording is due to the fact that the players only had 2 times to play it and this is the second – stellar musicians. The ensemble consisted of five violin I’s, four Violin II’s, three Violas, 2 Celli, one Contrabass, and one harp.
This week on December 17th, I did a training session for GarageBand on iOS (iPhone/iPad) at the Lincoln Center Apple Store in Manhattan. Along with Eimi Tanaka and Matt Mezzacappa, we covered pretty much every aspect of composing from a portable device, to the desktop, to recording live singers and mixing them. It was a fun experience and I’d love to do it again.
In the fall of 2014, the Composers Collective had the pleasure of hiring a brass quintet for our fall concert. The second performance of our young group, held again at the Opera America Center in Manhattan, was in the more attractive Recital Hall. The musicians performed thirteen brand new pieces to a full house. Continue reading Composers Collective November 2014
I wrote this piece, Hold Your Breath, at the end of 2013 and “rediscovered” it in the recordings on my computer. I’m very proud of it as I was venturing out into strange meters and opposing two-handed rhythms while experimenting with the range of the piano.
But beyond any compositional features, I think what really gave this recording life was the amazingly expressive playing of Blair McMillen. I was so impressed with his rendition upon the first read I really had no comment or correction. He basically nailed it. On top of that, he’s such a nice guy.
Here’s his second take, recorded on a Steinway at Juilliard:
Last week on the 12th, I had the pleasure of performing alongside my good musical friend Chesney Snow again for a show called “The Whole Enchilada”.
The wonderful Rachel Harrington, Orlando Arriaga, and Liz Days, also know as “The Bakery“, put together a sketch comedy show at This Theater in NYC. Chesney and I provided the soundtrack for three short comedy films that were showing between set changes. It was so much fun and the trio is a very talented group. It was no big thing to meet during a quick whirlwind dress rehearsal the night before where Chesney and I knocked out composing three songs for the short interstitials. That man is a beatboxing master! Such a good collaboration.
“Cannon to the right of them! Cannon to the left of them!” Kudos to The Bakery team! Looking forward to the next project!