This summer, I sat down with Rob McClure of Adjective New Music for a conversation on my music and composing process. The interview was posted in September on the Lexical Tones Podcast. Take a listen!
October 1: The Piano Centre for Music and Arts. Christchurch, New Zealand. Duo Per se performs Clarinet and Piano.
October 3: Holy Trinity Cathedral. Auckland, New Zealand. Duo Per se performs Clarinet and Piano.
October 4: APMA Auckland Music Festival. Auckland, New Zealand. Duo Per se performs Clarinet and Piano.
October 16: The Bowling Green State University 40th Annual New Music Festival. The BGSU New Music Ensemble premieres XIII for chamber ensemble.
October 17: IDNÓ, Reykjavîk, Iceland. Duo Harpverk premieres Warm Glass on Stone for harp and percussion.
October 18: Hljómahöll, Reykjavîk, Iceland. Duo Harpverk premieres Warm Glass on Stone for harp and percussion.
October 25: University of Nebraska at Kearney. Robert Benton and Steve Larson premiere Nine Miniatures in Four Parts for euphonium and piano.
The International Contemporary Ensemble will perform my Piano Trio as part of their residencies at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University! The performances will take place on Saturday, October 27th (UNT) and Sunday, October 28th (SMU).
If you can make it to either (or both!) of these performances, thank you!
On March 29th, 2005, I gave my final graduate recital in percussion performance. I hung up my mallets and focused my energies on studying composition, figuring I would never perform again in a solo recital setting.
I don’t listen very well to myself, apparently.
Please join me on March 29th, 2018, as I give my first solo recital in (exactly) 13 years. Essentially, this is a dual composition/percussion event, as I’ll be premiering a new 50-minute work written specifically for this recital, titled Meditation on Paraphrase as an Antonym of Quotation. Bookending the work will be Meadowlark by Tawnie Olson, and a small contribution to the Bernstein centennial.
Program notes for Meditation on Paraphrase as an Antonym of Quotation:
Meditation on Paraphrase as an Antonym of Quotation is the third and last of my Meditations for a solo percussionist. These pieces are not to be considered “music to which one meditates.” Instead, they are the result of long meditations on a particular subject. The first, Meditation on the Eve of John Cage’s 100th Birthday, was the result of a meditation on chance operations. The second, Meditation on Italo Calvino’s ‘The Castle of Crossed Destinies,” was the result of a meditation on different paths of a linear structure as determined by the placement of elements within a frame. During the composition of the third piece, I was occupied, at times to an unhealthy level bordering on obsessive, with two subjects: Kafka, specifically the absurd and grotesque situations and environments in which he places his characters, and distortion, specifically the first entry in Merriam-Webster’s definition of the term: “the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural, or original state: the act of distortion; a distortion of the facts.”
I was recently interviewed by Anthony Joseph Lanman on his 1 Track Podcast! We discussed my evening-length piece, V: oratio secreta, as well as evening-length pieces in general, different ways of approaching time in a composition, and the influence of literature on my music. I hope you like it!
I was recently interviewed by (newly minted Dr.) Jon Fielder for the KLANG blog!
The music of Webern should be taught alongside the stories of Lydia Davis.
- Saying that the view of “the composer should be free of the expectations of the audience” is analogous to the “Why pass gun laws? Criminals will still get guns” view of gun control is not provocative; it is ignorant, petty, and cheap.
- Have some respect for your audience. They can make their own interpretations and form their own opinions. Get out of their way.
- Debate and criticism are healthy and inherently good activities.
- The lighting of the performance space and attire of the performers has nothing to do with the quality of the performance. There have been many bad performances given by well-dressed people in well-lit spaces.
- Anyone who is any good at anything trained and continues to train. They seek out instruction, take what they need from the instruction, and never stop improving their craft. No one is impressed with the fact that you never took a lesson; it’s not a badge of honor. At the same time, training and mentoring are not exclusive to the campuses of expensive private institutions and Big Ten powerhouses.
- A well-made piece can be any duration. I’d rather hear a well-made piece that lasts one minute than a mediocre piece lasting ten. On the other hand, we should not fear the evening-length composition. There are many well-made pieces lasting over an hour.
- Insulating yourself and your art with only the familiar is a recipe for becoming annoyingly stale and obnoxiously narcissistic. Take a hint from Christopher Hitchens and step away from your home turf every once in a while.