So first the bad news, my performance in Tuscan, AZ has been canceled due to the group disbanding. While I am saddened by this I hope that the piece will get performed, even if I have to organize it myself.
Now for the good news: I won third place in the Abundant Silence Composition Competition! I didn't think I had a chance of winning but I was indeed selected as one of the five third place winners. Which I know, doesn't sound like much, but in addition to the $50 cash prize, the piece I submitted, Forest Rituals, will be formally published by Abundant Silence and receive a performance in January 2018 along with a recording. I am beyond excited and honored to have been selected for this amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to potential travel to Colorado for the concert. :)
So I was told today that the date is final and it is official, my reed quintet, Aftershock, will receive it's world premiere by the Outlaw Quintet in Tuscan, AZ! The concert, which will be September 28th, will coincide with Tuscan Pride. This is because the pieces on the concert are all LGBT themed, from LGBT composers to issues that the community deal with.
My piece, Aftershock, was written as a personal reflection on my reaction to the 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting. It was a moment that I remember thinking, "I am not safe." In that moment, I realized that the sense that we as a community have become safe and secure and that homophobia was a distant threat isn't necessarily so solid. It is in flux, as with most things, and al we can do is strive for a stability. The way I processed the news (shock, processing, emotional outbursts, and finally acceptance of this new reality) is what I drew from for this piece.
It is an honor to receive a premiere from Outlaw Quintet and currently I am trying to work with the UMKC Conservatory to try and get the money together to travel to Tuscan to hear it and talk about the piece, something I love doing face to face with the audience.
Talk to you guys later. :)
So I was informed recently that the film I scored for Brain Freeze Productions, CUT, was talked about and played on a local channel in St. Charles, MO! On the Higher Education Channel, they spoke with the directors of the Top Ten films and played each of them. Ours was included and they even complimented my score!
I am honored to have been mentioned in the segment and can at least finally say I was talked about on TV. :) Not only was I mentioned, but the host said he liked my score and that is really the best praise. I am glad I was able to do this amazing collaboration and am looking forward to next year perhaps. :)'
This is a link to the episode. They talk about CUT about 23 minutes in.
So Wednesday June 16th, 48 Hour Film Fest St. Louis held their awards ceremony. The film I scored, CUT, received four awards! Sadly, none for music. They received awards for editing, writing, use of line, and 2nd place overall. Though I must say it is an honor to be nominated.
Anyway, some exciting news! My reed quintet, Aftershock, is receiving its world premiere this year in Tuscan, AZ. The group, Outlaw Quintet, will be giving the world premiere performance. The performance doesn't have a date yet, but it will be late September or early October. The piece was inspired by how I processed the Pulse Nightclub shooting, how I dealt with no longer feeling safe in my own skin being an open gay man, being reminded that there is still a certain level of exposure I have being open even in today's modern world. The piece will be paired with an arrangement of Sia's "The Greatest" since the subject matter is related.
I will I'll keep you all updated. :)
Hey so I know I don't update this much, but I thought this was worth the post. I was recently commissioned to write my first film score for the 48 Hour Film Fest in St. Louis, MO, my hometown! It was an exciting and stressful two days but I just received word that the film, CUT, was placed in the Top 10 and thus will be receiving an award for something this Wednesday. I have no idea for what but a chance is there that it might be for music. :) I won't be there for the award ceremony unfortunately but I am excited to see how it goes and I'll update as soon as I know!
I was perusing the Zodiac Music Festival and Academy webpage for pictures and info on the festival for a presentation I'm giving on the organization for the Composition Forum at UMKC. I happened across their videos section and noticed they had featured my piece, Forest Rituals, on their website! I found the YouTube link too! Enjoy! (Note: I've made some major changes to the piece and expect to get a performance here in the US this year!)
I was interviewed recently by the Johnson County Library for their Listen Local section. Many thanks to Brian Voell for reaching out to me and for his patience in my getting back to his questions. 😄
Not a huge update, but I decided to start a Facebook page for both composition and a performance based posts. You can access it through clicking on the new Facebook icon on my social media buttons. :)
So a few weeks ago I was accepted to the Zodiac Festival in Valdeblore France. This is an amazing opportunity for me as it's the first time I have really won something and my first time abroad. Which means my first time on a plane (which I am, admittedly, very nervous about). This opportunity comes with a commission for a piece: a trio for flute, cello, and piano.
UMKC has offered to cover a portion of the travel and I am receiving donations from my GoFundMe page.
Today I had the excellent opportunity to present TWO short opera scenes through the Lyric Opera of Kansas City's Words + Music program, headed by Linda Ade Brand. The collaboration is between the LOKC, Coterie Theater's Young Playwrites Roundtable, and the UMKC Conservatory of Music's composition department. Last year, I had one scene, Collection!, which was well recovered by John Corigliano and Mark Adamo.
This year, the masterclass was led by Susan and Ed Kander, vets of the LOKC and Ed being one of the co-founders of the organization. I had the unique chance to present two scenes, Tony's Birthday, with text by Analiese Schroeder, and Nighttime, with text by Meredith McKnight. Both were vastly difference in mood and genre, and that's why I picked them. They showed the extremes of my composition style: the serious and the irreverent.
Tony's Birthday is about a squire, Stephen, who is trying to teach his liege, Prince Tony, who just turned 18, how to woo a maiden to be his wife. After a few failed attempts and a bad example on behalf of the squire, they go to the square to find other women to test Prince Tony's skills on. Susan pointed out that the scene didn't feel over and Analiese and I agreed, so we will be collaborating on a Tony, Part II.
Nighttime, the second scene I wrote, deals with two people, or whatever they are (Angsty young adults? A person and their split personality? Spirits? Angels? Parallel Universal Entities? All were suggestions by various people involved!). The scene opens with the character, simply referred to as Not Bold in the libretto, smoking and her friend, Bold, joins her, drunk. They talk about troubles at the apartment and about how Bold has insomnia and how Not Bold feels guilty about some past, or current, troubles. After a reconciliation, they just muse at the starry sky and end with a line found in the stage directions that we had to include, "The world has turned out to be enough."
The scene was so ethereal and mysterious that I had to get my hands on it and set it. We chose Countertenor (me) and Soprano (LaTeesha Jackson) to sing the roles of Bold and Not Bold, who were simply identified as Boy and Girl in the score. Susan loved the pieces and, in particular, the musical gestures and structure I chose.
Overall, I was pleased and very honored by the praise and critique I received. I cannot wait to perform it at the Coterie May 1st, then at the UMKC Composers Workshop and then finally the 2016 KC Fringe Festival. But, for now, I'm celebrating with a good book, some good tv, and some wholly deserved gelato. 🎹🎬🍦📖