What’s New in the life of Sam?

Well, lots of things as a matter of fact. First of all, I applied to be accepted to a 12 day Summer Composition intensive in Indiana and….I GOT ACCEPTED!!! This is an awesome opportunity as I will get to study with professional composers such as Zae Munn, Michael Schelle, Kristin Kuster,  Jay Batzner,  and Joshua Marquez, meet and network with other young composers who have similar musical goals in mind, and learn some new techniques to broaden my horizons. I will also be working my tail off in the near future to save for this learning experience (though I will also be gratefully accepting donations so that I can justifiably afford to eat).

Secondly,I’ve recently heard back From Avguste Antonov concerning the upcoming CD with Cumulus Humilis on it and that is nearing it’s final stages. As a contributing composer to his Debut album, I am both honored and excited.

Thirdly, for your playing Pleasure (or agony), several new Scribbles and Doodles have been released. Please feel free to investigate these and if you wish to perform any of them, they are free of charge, though it would be appreciated if you would send a copy of any programs.If your instrument is not there, do not worry. It will likely make it on there in the near future. Also, any recommendations or requests for a new scribble are always welcome.

Fourthly, I wrote a new Band Piece! This one is very different from most other works I’ve produced as of yet due to its placid simplicity. It is called Reverence and was composed with a young or small band in mind. The profound Fraggle Rock quote from Cantus the Bard ” There is Movement in the stillness just as there is Music in the silence.” was the main inspiration for the mood of this piece (as well as the 2 night long bout of insomnia and boredom from not sleeping). I tried to Follow Steven Bryant’s advice that he gave to me during a very fortunate meeting at Midwest last December, which was to build off of a simple motive rather than be programmatic, and kept the lessons that were learned talking to music educators teachers about needs in repertoire and what would help their students in mind. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded…or at least come close.

Fifthly, life has been a whirlwind of musical performance meeting real life lately. A midst preparing to move out into an apartment this summer and searching for a new job (as sadly I must leave my library campus job when I graduate), life has had an interesting way of creating musical opportunities that present themselves to keep one busy. Since February, I’ve been singing with  the Youngstown Trinity United Methodist Church  on a regular basis (my first full time church choir gig since 2008), performing in several concerts (Trombone day,  The C.P.E. Bach premiere,  multiple recitals and others) writing essays, and working on Scribbles and Doodles to keep myself composing on a regular basis. Any spare time has been spent organizing, practicing and rehearsing groups for an upcoming recital.

Speaking of which, the planning for the Sr. Composition recital is well underway. This will take place April 25th  5pm at Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown. thanks to 23 willing Victims  musicians who graciously volunteered to play my music. Stay Tuned for an update on the program.

 

 

My Latest Expirament

Thanks to my composition inquisitor (aka teacher), I have been working on a piece completely unlike any other I have attempted as of yet. Scott challenged me to  abandon my usual frame of having a story to compose  and instead  write what is called a Visual-Spacial notation piece. Basically the piece does not have bar lines to designate strict meter subdivisions. Instead, it leaves it up to the performers to designate where the musical figure is to fit within where the designated time specifies. It calls for ordered improvisation with a demand for the group to play as an ensemble.  So far, the piece looks like this:

(Click picture for a larger view)

Composing this piece has forced me to think more freely about musical lines and textures and to consider multiple possibilities for the building blocks of a work.  Along the way, my teacher has had me looking at various scores with non-traditional notation by Cage, Varese and others I may not have picked up otherwise and we have discussed them in our lesson. Many Cagian  ideas such as indeterminacy have made it into this piece as a result. For example, I got the idea for how to break up the time by rolling dice except for the 30 second section, where I anticipate the performer to successfully make a sandwich with the ingredients already set (mainly because I timed this myself at home).

Other than the fact that I am using kitchen percussion and adding the humorous element of a musician making a sandwich for no other reason than to add improvised non- traditional sounds, this piece lacks a preconceived story and instead has its own underlying framework. Although I anticipate that the piece will sound “wonkey” if and when it is performed, I have enjoyed trying to think within this loose structure.

Highlights from the Last Month

So, it’s been awhile since I have had time to post anything on here. 1 month in Internet time is equivalent to “like forever” in real world time as we all know. In order to make up for that time, I will attempt to explain the highlights  in a nutshell:

1) Cumulus Humilis was performed 3 times by Avguste Antonov the week of the New Music concerts at the end October. In that time, he was approached by Hartshorn record company in NY to record a cd of New piano works. To make a long story short (too late) he chose my piece to record on the Cd and I am still ecstatic!!!

2)New Pieces have been written- As an added unexpected feather in my cap, I was asked to write music for the upcoming Worlds Quest browser game. This was my first official video game related project and I am elated to say that my first attempt was a success .To sum things up, they liked it-a lot and I am grateful. The game will be released  on December 20th.

Also, I have been working on a new experiment at the request of Scott. I will be writing a blog post about it shortly. Other plans include creating a  collection of one page solos for  from all of the 8 bar excerpts that were composed for Instrumentation class this semester. I am debating calling the collection Doodles and Scribbles or something to that effect.

Desiree Carrion and I after Carols and Cocoa 2013

3) I played my last Carols and Coccoa concert of my undergrad. This was a surreal experience as it is hard to believe that the time has flown that quickly. Kudos to my friend (and soon to be SAI sister) Desiree Carrion for having her first arrangement for Trombone ensemble performed. God Rest Ye Marry Trombonists was a ball to perform for a last hurrah ,and I especially cracked up singing the Lyrics “to save us all from Schoenberg’s Music when we’ve gone astray”. For a three hour plus long annual concert that we all complain about, I’m sure going to miss performing in it-sort of.

4) In November, I helped premier  a piece for Trombone quartet by fellow composer Richard Zacharias called Pardon My Slide with my friends Mariah Bailey, Bo Violette and Andrew Stamp. I also had the honor of Performing The Dance of Spring for Yanda Zhu’s Graduate Composition Recital. If you haven’t heard of him, you probably will soon.