2024 Projects/Updates

Looking Ahead for 2024 - 1/1/24

Hallelujah for me giving up trying to hand-code clunky websites and trying to reinvent not just the wheel but the entire drivetrain, interior, and body of the car. This long-overdue, if staid and utilitarian, website update is the bee's knees. Hopefully you can find things and stuff is easier to read. If not, call Sundar Pichai and ask him what's up.

I have been fortunate to have received a fair number of performances and resurrections of pieces this year, largely owing to my friend and longtime collaborator and interpreter Paula Van Goes. 

2023 has been creatively, like the years from the pandemic on, relatively quiet on my end. I aim to change that, and there is some momentum and urgency in what I have planned for the year going forward. I have been generally quiet about mental and physical health issues as well as losses, but there have been plenty of both the past few years, and at least on a few fronts, I'm turning a corner. Not "getting back to normal" because the "normal" wasn't great. 

Part of the issue has been, ironically, not having enough time and energy to compose and create - which results in all sorts of dumb perfectionist hell-fuming and spiraling. While capitalism dictates that I can't do a whole hell of a lot about my income-producing job right now until at least 2032, I declare that the thing that pays my mortgage (for now) ain't the thing I live for. And maybe the optimist in me has come of age, but I feel better now going forward than I have in several years. Enough being soapboxy or treating this like a therapy session.  But I pay $300+ a year for this website, so I'll put what I want on it within all appropriate state and federal laws. 

2023 wasn't a wash, though! There was growth and recalibration, and I did finish, technically, three smaller works during the year: Two unaccompanied viola works (not related to each other), and a set of unaccompanied bassoon works that I started twiddling with years ago - could be performed as three separate pieces, but they'll be lumped together. I hope to get all three engraved within the first few months of 2024. Potential performances of all three loom for later in 2024.

I am, as both a form of orchestrational practice and for functional reasons, making an approximately UIL-4 arrangement of Janacek's Sinfonietta. It offers so much to a wind band setting and is one of my favorite works. With no offense to the Patterson editions, student / amateur learners of wind and percussion instruments should have the ability to perform this fabulous piece in some way while taking a few of the gnarly bits out, but keeping most all of the rest in. All the repeat signs are staying; the key centers will remain true to the original. Some occasional metrical rewrites, technical-passage reductions and simplifications, and range considerations are being made in order to accommodate - and challenge, meaningfully - the intermediate student or amateur performer. The auxiliary brass parts all remain, but are duplicated in the ensemble, and there are some additions to the percussion (and bassoon!) writing.

I will also be composing a UIL-3 or UIL-4 level wind ensemble piece for my students at my workplace. I hope to have it premiered by them in May 2024. The work is a celebration of my students, the legacy of the institution we share, and a sort of farewell to my brief stint as a high school band director. (Tick that one off the list, marm: aside from teaching class voice and class guitar, I think I've taught everything that could be taught at the high school and undergraduate level.)

I have on deck consortiums for 2024 - as of 1/1/24, there are two: one for a new work for flute, alto sax, and piano, and one for a new work for flute and soprano sax. No, I don't want to just write one piece and then transpose it and get rid of the piano part. A possible third is in store for a two-piano work. For details on that front, check back here soon when more details are available.

I have some score clean-up to do and some items to finish as we head through the first few months of the year. 

L'Arbe Solitaire du Tenere - Bassoon Quartet - 1/10/24

I'm working through the kinks of Lonely Tree of Tenere / L'Arbe Solitaire du Tenere but there are clear and polished parts and scores available. I am working with my publishers to see if we can get this thing unleashed into the commercial world soon. 

I welcome any and all bassoonists and bassoon quartets to give the work a once-over. I think it's a vibrant, moving, and cinematic work, and probably one of the few "serious" works for bassoon quartet out there. (Sorry, but it's true. Quirky humor is great, but the bassoon has a broader emotional range.) 

The premiere is set for April 4, 2024, in Greensboro, NC, with members of the UNCG bassoon studio set to perform it. No performances prior to that date will be authorized, but I would love to see some quartets program this for later in 2024 and beyond.

If you would like a perusal score, please email me through the Contact page above. 

New Works - Flute/Soprano Saxophone and Flute, Alto Saxophone, and Piano - 1/21/24

I am very fortunate to know and work with two amazing musicians - saxophonist Paula Van Goes, and flutist Lisa Hanson Bartholow. They have both been performers and supporters of my music for well over a decade, and have performed or premiered several of my works, including international performances. I am composing works for both of them for differing instrumentations, and I hope that there may be some support for these projects, particularly for folks interested in premiering or performing the work.

Something I’ve toyed with for a while is how to make a commissioned piece “work” without making the people performing it also (if not solely) financially responsible for getting the work created. If numerous folks contributed a little, there’d be a good amount that can be split between the premiering performers and the composer of a work to defray their costs – conferences, travel, possible recording fees, and more. For other performers who could premiere the work, the act of working the piece up and managing the performance is enough labor, for me, to count as being part of the collective that brings a piece to bear, and that guarantee to perform it counts, for me, as a co-commissioner of the work.

For folks who want to support the work in some way, this will be done more like a PBS pledge drive of old – you sign up, and after about four weeks I’ll contact you. Filling out this pledge form here doesn’t necessarily obligate you and there’s no information collected beyond your name, interest level, and email address, none of which will be shared with anyone.

While any monetary contribution will result in you being placed in the acknowledgments as a co-commissioner, someone who made this possible, practicality probably suggests a lowest-end contribution of $20. Donors who provide beyond $100 USD will receive special recognition, and as a thank-you gift, I will compose a short work for a solo instrument of your choosing (though you may need to arrange your own premiere!). Monetary contributions will be treated as a minimum Net-30 -- after at least 30 days, unless you've contacted me to opt out, I will email you with Venmo, GooglePay, and/or CashApp information. Contributions are welcome within 15 days of that notice.

 

Flute, alto sax, and piano: For Paula Van Goes, I am composing a work for flute, alto saxophone, and piano, and I am hoping there other trios - or flute or sax players - interested in supporting the work's creation and initial performances. (More on that below.) The work is slated to clock in between 9 and 12 minutes in duration; I am not sure whether it will be multimovement or not at this point. It will not include electronics or piano preparation, but there will almost definitely be various extended techniques for all three instruments that don't require instrumental preparation or augmentation. While my voice is slowly metamorphosing in these slightly-fallow years, I do expect the piece to be a challenge in parts. Since Paula is based in the Atlanta area, I'm looking for possible extra-musical inspiration from Georgia's landscapes and history, particularly that of the foothills and Atlanta proper. 

Flute and soprano sax: For Lisa Hanson Bartholow, I'm composing a work for flute and soprano saxophone. (No, I don't want to just transpose any of my preexisting flute/sax music!) With the lightness and lack of lower range for this duo, I'm mulling a shorter, multimovement format that can suitably explore the colors and effects of the instruments while working within a somewhat constrained mid-high range. Considering Lisa lives in Athens, I can't not think about music from my formative years - REM, Pylon, B-52s - I'm not sure if the riffs from "Talk about the Passion" or "Rock Lobster" will show up in the pieces, but I can't rule it out, either. This work would likely clock in at or near the 8 minute mark. No preparation or augmentation to instruments, nor electronics, but I do like slap tongues and multiphonics, so... Like the trio, I'm hoping to find some folks who might want to support the work's creation or perform it later on.

I endeavor to have both works complete by August 31, 2024. (It's a long runway and I aspire to get it done sooner!) Paula will give the premiere for the trio, and Lisa will give the premiere for the duo. But going forward into late 2024 (after October 15) and into 2025, I think it can be open season for those who want to premiere the works (outside of Georgia!). And, going forward from now, I will honor any contribution. To assist with the commission, and the likely looming recording and materials fees, half of any monetary contributions will be split between Lisa, Paula, and myself. And the best part is that I won't plaster a pesky GoFundMe link - like NPR or PBS of old, I'll trust you with a simple pledge. Fill out this form in order to carry that through. If you need to know whether someone may have beat you to the punch for a premiere, I will post updates on this page as we go, probably once every few weeks, depending. (No other info will be shared.)

Any pledges for premieres will be arranged such that any later requests for premieres will be eligible for "second performance" credit and given right of first refusal for additional performances beyond. Because the premiere dates at this moment are a little nebulous, I will be very mindful of this aspect. All duos/trios who volunteer to premiere (or give second performances) of the works will receive a special acknowledgment in the published scores, which will likely emerge sometime in 2025. I request archival recordings and/or concert programs made available to me after the performances. 

New Works - Piano Duo / Four Hands - 2/19/24

After a lot of time since solo or duo piano work, I've decided to return to writing for piano duo - four hands. While I've not yet composed a two-piano work, I still would like to explore some aspects of writing for multiple performers on one piano - I've been successful in a few of my other works for the medium, including Congaree Voices for four hands and electronic sounds

Luckily, I have been colleagues and friends with Julia Mortyakova and Valentin Bogdan for many years, and I finally have the opportunity to compose a work for them. Joining them in this is Duo Korusa, my dear friends Jacob Clark and Sujung Cho. Jacob and Sujung have been performing my work and have been integral to my piano output for over a decade and I'm excited to have four wonderful people premiere the work. They are the dedicatees of the work.

The work will be a relatively brief one, within one broad movement, somewhere between six and eight minutes in duration. Despite it exploring some of the timbrel possibilities of two pianos, the work will be rather athletic, playful, and fanfarish. Somewhere in the weird, perhaps chthonic Venn diagram overlap of the Brahms Op. 39 waltzes, Scott Lindroth’s Duo for Violins, and Milhaud’s Scaramouche is likely where this piece is going to reside – long, interweaving lines and jubilant outbursts for no reason, and some choro-inspired “wrong-note” music seems like a good time.

I hope to complete the work sometime in August or September of 2024. Jacob, Sujung, Julia, and Val will premiere the work sometime during the last quarter of 2024 or early 2025 with subsequent performances thereafter. But going forward into 2025, other US state and Canadian premieres can be had anywhere outside of Texas and Mississippi.

Something I’ve toyed with for a while is how to make a commissioned piece “work” without making the people performing it also (if not solely) financially responsible for getting the work created. If numerous folks contributed a little, there’d be a good amount that can be split between the premiering performers and the composer of a work to defray their costs – conferences, travel, possible recording fees, and more. For other performers who could premiere the work, the act of working the piece up and managing the performance is enough labor, for me, to count as being part of the collective that brings a piece to bear, and that guarantee to perform it counts, for me, as a co-commissioner of the work.

For folks who want to support the work in some way, this will be done more like a PBS pledge drive of old – you sign up, and after about four weeks I’ll contact you. Filling out this pledge form here doesn’t necessarily obligate you and there’s no information collected beyond your name, interest level, and email address, none of which will be shared with anyone.

While any monetary contribution will result in you being placed in the acknowledgments as a co-commissioner, someone who made this possible, practicality probably suggests a lowest-end contribution of $20. Donors who provide beyond $100 USD will receive special recognition, and as a thank-you gift, I will compose a short work for a solo instrument of your choosing (though you may need to arrange your own premiere!). Monetary contributions will be treated as a minimum Net-30 -- after at least 30 days, unless you've contacted me to opt out, I will email you with Venmo, GooglePay, and/or CashApp information. Contributions are welcome within 15 days of that notice.

Any pledges for premieres/performances will be arranged such that any later requests for premieres will be eligible for "second performance" credit and possibly be given right of first refusal for additional performances beyond. Because the premiere dates at this moment are a little nebulous, I will be very mindful of this aspect. All duos/trios who volunteer to premiere (or give second performances) of the works will receive a special acknowledgment in the published score, which will likely come out with either Cimarron or Murphy Music Press sometime in 2025. I request archival recordings and/or concert programs made available to me after the performances. 

I hope you’ll consider joining us. Follow this form to become a supporter and commissioner of this project.