Friday, 11 September 2015

A new season

Wow, what a summer. Travel, some big family events, cataract surgery, and a flood in the basement of our country house.

Rafa at schoolAnd now our little boy starting preschool. And some changes brewing in the way I do my work. I'll talk about those here when everything's in place.

With so much going on, it seemed like a time to take a vacation from blogging. Now that I'm back, I have a lot to say. But for the moment — just to get started — two things stand out.


…an arts summit I spoke at in August, at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. I was one of three outside speakers invited to take part, and it was one of the most fulfilling things I've done professionally.

In talks I gave, my subjects were the migration of art outside the arts (one of my key topics these days, which I'll be saying more about here). And also changes that all of us might want to make in the standard music school curriculum. The Greensboro administration and faculty had read my blog posts (like this one) on the new curriculum at the DePauw School of Music, and asked me to speak about what's going on there.

I had lots to say, and I'll pass on some of it a little later, when I'll offer free consultations on curriculum ideas. (Contact me now if you want to sign up early.) But today I want to praise the people in Greensboro for what they did in the summit to get students involved. The biggest part of it was simple: They cancelled classes for the day.

And so students — along with some faculty — just poured into the events. Which had been structured so that every student could spend time with the three of us who came from outside. (The others were Suzanne Callahan, who runs a consulting firm in Washington, DC and specializes in dance, and Teresa Eyring, the Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group. They did some wonderful things, which I'll praise in another post.)

I've known others to say they wanted students involved in events, or wanted to start conversations at a school about the future, but the Greensboro people really made it happen. Major kudos to them!

My other big event…

…will be my reemergence as a composer, on April 14, with a concert of my music at the Mansion at Strathmore (the big performing arts center just outside Washington). Some wonderful musicians will sing and play, on a program that shows many sides of what I do, from opera to the spirit of film noir, from triads to noise.

Of course I'll be saying more about this. But for now, two teasers, two pieces of mine performed back in June that'll also be in the April show, performed by pretty much the same people. I blogged these in July, but I love these performances, so why not link to them again?

"Ich bin, du Ängstlicher," a song for soprano and piano, the text from a Rilke poem. Sung by Marlissa Hudson, with George Peachey, pianist. Written in 1999 as a present for my wife.

Quartet for Anne, a string quartet also written for my wife, played by Entcho Todorov, violin 1, Hiroko Naguchi, violin 2, Jonathan Dinklage, viola, and Peter Sachon, cello.

You'll hear that both pieces (from my triadic vein) have pretty much the same ending. That's because the quartet — a surprise birthday present from 2001 — is entirely made from other music of mine, that Anne knew. Ending with the song I wrote for her. Which makes the two pieces a very sweet pair in performance.

Original Content: A new season

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