A Lot of Work

Happy New Year, everyone!

There are a lot of big, big projects coming up, and I'm quite excited to talk about them, so let's just dive right into them!

Interplay - Trio Kavanàh

Trio Kavanàh premiering Interplay at
the Dallas Contemporary in October
While Interplay was premiered at the Dallas Contemporary back in October, it may be receiving another performance this March! I'll announce more when it's official, but a dance company in town heard the work and are hoping to choreograph their own interpretation alongside the Trio in a performance of several dance pieces. 

Working on this project with the Trio, getting to meet Ian Davenport himself, and the beautiful performance next to the artwork was reward enough - so it's even more exciting to have this additional collaborative element on the horizon.

Rocky Summer

I'll often sketch/draw while I compose to help me
visualize tone/color/mood. This is one such sketch I was
working from yesterday.
Also coming up in March is a new work for the Dallas Chamber Symphony, premiering at Moody Performance Hall in downtown Dallas! The work is going to be paired with Copland's Appalachian Spring, as well as a silent film (with a new score by composer Rolfe Kent), so the whole evening is going to be a great event! 

The work I'm writing, Rocky Summer, will have the same instrumentation as Appalachian Spring (flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano, and a small compliment of strings), along with percussion. This is one of the biggest projects I've undertaken since doing Macbeth and Thump, and it's been a challenge getting back into the "large ensemble" mindset again after doing so many chamber pieces in the last year. I wanted to do a piece that would pair well with Appalachian Spring on a concert, so - while the piece itself is referring to a literal "spring," as in water - I've titled my piece Rocky Summer to help draw them together even more. 

I've been to the Rockies several times, but one instance in particular stood out. I'll definitely be writing more on this as the weeks go on!

The Noise

Dr. Andrew Chybowski, conducting the Pittsburg State
University Wind Ensemble
This work is particularly special to me. The Pittsburg State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by my former IU classmate, Dr. Andrew Chybowski, commissioned a substantial 15-minute work for two voices and wind ensemble to be premiered in April. 

After going back and forth about text for awhile, I ended up writing my own for this work in collaboration with a few trusted friends. I've been thinking a lot about mental health issues - not just with my own experiences, but with the many, many people in the music field I've talked with about their experiences. I've often found that we, as a culture, use humor to create a sense of community (sharing "hahaha I have depression"-style memes and retweets). While it allows people to see that they're not alone, it's also started to normalize constantly "feeling bad." Other works that have tried to address these issues try hard to explore the experiences, but also try to wrap it up with a "everything is going to be better now" sort of vibe, when for many, many people it's never going to go away completely - there's no cure, only active, healthy coping/hard work. I wanted to write a piece that explored these subtleties without making promises, or casting judgement/shame.

Everyone involved so far has been really, really wonderful and supportive. This event is shaping up to be even bigger than I had imagined, and I can't wait to share more on this with you in the coming months.

Solo Collaboration Zack Reaves

A rather blurry photo of myself and the incredible
cellist, Zack Reaves.
While the main bulk of this project is under wraps for the moment, I am so, so excited to announce that I'll be working with an amazing cellist, Zack Reaves (formerly of Altius Quartet), in the coming months on a work for solo cello! He has always been a big promoter of living composers, new music, and adventurous programming, so it is truly an honor and a thrill to have this collaboration on the horizon later this spring!

That's all for now - looking forward to keeping you in the loop on the latest goings-on as the year progresses. My very best to all of you as we start this new, terrifying, exhilarating year together!