While I certainly would not count myself a poet, I feel the medium of poetry, as that of visual and other non-musical arts, uniquely expresses meaning. I wrote three brief poems to celebrate the Sabbath yesterday: on faith, hope, and charity. I also made a series of graphics to express a seminal Latter-day Saint scripture, that in "small and simple things, great things come to pass" (Alma 37:6-7). They can be experienced by scrolling through slowly or by zipping through them (backwards is also effective). Hopefully, my amateurish endeavors outside my craft bear some meaning!

Faith is
           forward footsteps,

Letting go of chains,
anticipating the


                        Knowing it will
                        be a ROCK upon
                        which one lands.


Is blind.

Frolicking in fig leaves,

sweat steaming the brow

In conceivable sorrow

Amber, orange, red treeflames

And dust.

And up again. But not over. For only to seasons

Is hope blind.


suffers, endures, embarks, works, obeys, honors, remembers, recalls, stands, protects, preserves, sacrifices,
spends, ameliorates, envelops, forms, enlarges, fills, expands, satiates, satisfies, overwhelms, exhilarates,
revives, changes, values, reaches, cries, sanctifies, loves, purifies, teaches, uplifts, encourages, motivates, envisions, cares, cherishes, prioritizes, accomplishes, praises, reveres, breaks, bleeds, consecrates, empowers,
glorifies, exalts, and lives, Forever.

Without it,

YOU are:        .

Excerpts from Zoom 1820


Musicking and Improvisation


I was reminded of the concept of "musicking" yesterday, which is the late Christopher Small's term to help people think of music as an action rather than a thing (though adding a "k" to a word makes it feel archaic so I use the term warily). Thus, listening to music is musicking, performing music is musicking, and creating music is musicking. Sheet music or recordings themselves are not music until someone engages with them. While he goes in depth on this topic in his book Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening, I would rather talk about how musicking as brought life to the music around me.

I recently joined UMKC's Imp Ensemble, a free (not necessarily jazz) improvisation ensemble. Several years ago at BYU I was part of a similar group called GEM (Group for Experimental Music). Both these ensembles provide a creative outlet where I am invigorated to musick without the restrictions of societal convention. I believe that we should strive to engage with our culture by putting forth our best contributions to the art, I also believe in what Ned Rorem termed "the distortion of Genius." It helps to step outside the bounds of classical concert music culture to reassess one's work and musical purpose. Next month, the Imp Ensemble will be performing at West Bottoms as part of the West Bottoms Reborn initiative. More details here.

This upcoming Tuesday, my work Improvisations VI: Just, Plane, Natural will be performed by Gabbi Roderer, an amazing flutist (see the event details here). This is the third in a series of improvisation pieces for soloist and live electronics that I originally wrote for myself as a way I could continue improvising outside of a group. But now they have become a fascinating means of collaborating with performers as musicians, tapping into fellow performers' intuitive abilities to musick, not according to the societal norms of their repertoire but according to the dictates of their ear in response to the electronics (which are wholly dependent on the performer's playing).

These improvisations are free for the performer, but while this sounds liberating, it actually invites the performer to solve their own compositional puzzle. The piece only progresses with a tap of a pedal that initiates a change in the electronics. These changes provide the overall structure of the piece while leaving pacing up to the performer. The puzzle for performers is to effectively navigate these changes to achieve their artistic vision. In this manner, the performer also becomes a creator and sculptor of sound in time. The performer also must engage carefully in listening. It is a perfect example of musicking to a composed work without the strings attached.

This work is a joint effort, a true collaboration. Rather than the composer acting as dictator or even as visionary, the composer becomes the facilitator and architect, providing a space and flow to accentuate the performer's work. While the composer is not active on stage (though I can easily code in my own laptop part and devise the form in real-time), the contribution of the electronics provides a unique mark that, while at times sounding very different in each iteration, infallibly remains. The contributions of composer and performer are equal; the electronics can only be engaged by the performer's input and the performer must engage with the electronics to play out the work. Through this partnership, the new work is born every time, and I love this sort of relationship. 

If you are a musician and want to musick with these Improvisations or have insights or comments on these concepts, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below.

Composer Opportunity List

Over this summer, I put quite a few hours into compiling a list of competitions, festivals, and residencies for music composers. There are literally hundreds of competitions yearly. Some are highly reputable and others are simply ridiculous. Some offer thousands of dollars and others offer a performance in a remote place on the other side of the world without any travel or lodging support and will not award you unless you spend thousands of dollars to attend. Some have no entry fee, and others ask for $100 to apply, as if it were a college application (or, perhaps more accurately stated, an overpriced lottery ticket). Some are aimed towards specific audiences (high schoolers, professionals, Canadians, New Yorkers, females, Jews, UK residents, LDS, NYC residents, people who can make a slam dunk, people who live in the New York metropolitan area) and others are for everyone who has placed a note on paper. Some are looking for graphic scores, electronic works, or the avant-garde and others are looking for that one song you heard with your grandma at the park in the afternoon 17 years ago at the county 4H fair. And many of these competitions are actually a commission for the composer; in other words, your reward is to put in another 50+ composing hours only to have it performed by an orchestra who expects you to print out the parts yourself and send them across the world (postage costs are yours)in a remote place in the Philippines that can only be approached by veering off from a guided kayak tour, and the expenses are not covered (the location is trendy though and would pretty neat on your CV, right?). On the flip side, these commissions provide opportunities to write for some of the best ensembles in the world and often provide a nice commission stipend for the composer. In the end, it takes lots of time to figure out what a competition expects of a performer, if the composer is even allowed to participate, and what possible expenses will result. It is up to each composer to decide which competition fits their writing, level of accomplishment and musical finesse, and aspirations.


Festivals are similar. The entry fees range from free to $125 or more, they are often in remote places and do not offer travel expenses, and sometimes the tuition is thousands of dollars over the summer. Yet, there are some that pay for every dime of expenses involved, even providing a stipend and future opportunities for composers who make the cut. Some are for less than a week, while others are for an entire summer (which is great if paid for, but remember that you are sacrificing an income regardless!). Again, it takes planning and careful decision-making to apply for and attend festivals.

Now, why would anyone go through the hassle of applying to competitions and festivals? Well, my experience has been wonderful so far. Through competitions and festivals, I meet new people, collaborate with others (and learn how to successfully do so), receive good recordings of my music that will help in future applications (including schooling, employment, and more competitions!), and receive additional opportunities, including seeing different parts of the country or the world. Several of my pieces over the past three years have been written for performers I met at festivals and were excellent opportunities for me. Also, festivals in particular often provide musical training and seminars not typically covered in a college setting. The Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival focuses on musician entrepreneurship, in addition to working with performers on a woodwind quintet, and other festivals like the Atlantic Music Festival give composers the opportunity to meet a variety (like 10) of well-known composers, which helped me decide where I would and would not apply for doctoral programs. While I may have expended more money than I wish to admit (thanks student loans!), I believe in worthy investments, especially when the competition for teaching jobs and future professional gigs is fierce and requires a solid list of experiences.

Without further ado, this is the composer opportunity list. Please join me in creating the most efficient compilation there is of these competitions and festivals. Keep the format I have laid out (or make it neater without losing any info). Share it with friends, students, and teachers. I have designed this list to be available in Google Calendar, but you will have to contact me directly with a gmail account to be added to those lists. Thanks for being part of my network, where we can cooperate, rather than compete, for music's sake. May the odds ever be in your favor.


Musings on the Creative Process

The artist looks at a canvas or an empty notebook (with or without staff paper) and sees infinite possibilities. For me, the paralyzing force at the beginning is because of a lack of ideas. Instead, it is the great question, "Which direction, if taken, will be worth the most?" Now, this leads into another question, "What worth can music have in the first place?" It seems like the majority of listeners believe that music has a purpose; however, it varies greatly among them. Many see it as a form of entertainment, others fall close to worshiping it, and then there are many who desire nothing more than background noise so that they do not have to face silence. I personally do not see music as such, though I realize that music has to have some sort of entertaining feature to maintain attention, can be worshipful and bring spiritual experiences to many people including myself, and by nature fills silence naturally. Yet, I still do not have an answer for one reason why music should be written, and that is fantastic. I lean towards creating works that introduce fresh sound worlds, invigorate the spirit, and explore how both tradition and experimentation can come together in a work. But whatever the case, none of this really tells us anything about the empty canvas. Returning to the first question, when we decide a purpose, now we need to make the choice of what we must do to achieve that end. Or not. Honestly, I often improvise. Or I start to do stream-of-consciousness writing (in words).  In the end, the direction we need to take is to take a direction. The first thing an artist needs is material.

Now I have this schematic of the digestive system that will also symbolize the Passion story of Jesus Christ. How did I get there? I thought that it was strange that the wording about the Resurrection is that death would be "swallowed up" in life. For me, I chose this as inspiration because there are a lot of decisions that I didn't want to make myself. The added bonus is that no matter which way the project turns I still have a religious component to it, fulfilling one of my joys in composing. How does this topic decide musical things for me? In this case, it gives me form. I have three parts of the Passion, suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the death on the Cross, and the Resurrection. To swallow food, there are similarly three phases. This tells me that I can have three movements to the work. Then, I study how food is swallowed. Food is moistened by saliva, ground into pieces, and falls to the back of the throat. There is nothing emotional about those things, but I can make textures in the music that first become mushy and lose their form, then dissonantly grind one note against another, and finally let the movement have some sort of release, perhaps using some sort of balanced binary form. In other words, the form is AB and coda with A material. Yet, the one complication is, "How can I relate this to the suffering in the Garden?" Because I already have form from the digestive element, I simply apply different emotions related to willful suffering throughout the movement. Yes, it is quite dark, but I think of harmonic language, melodic content, and rhythmic motives can show hesitation, nervousness, anxiety, and at the fore, pain, and adjust my form accordingly. I believe that emotions can sometimes be mapped onto the physical experience of the performers, so when I write these types of passages, I think of how the violin bow will attack the notes, how the clarinet wind will feel as it articulates and how the fingers will feel as they noodle around the instrument, and how the piano hands will touch the keys (or bang the keys). If you ask any of my performers who have played this sort of music, they agree that some moments require suffering or patience. I assure them that it is completely intentional.

Another consideration in the creative process is how God created the universe. He first took material and formed it. Then He shaped it with all sorts of land and water features. Then He created opposition, setting the light apart from darkness. Then life started to happen. In my example, I gave the piece a form. I shaped it to some degree, and I plan to shape it more as time goes by (which still happens while we are on the earth--tectonic plates are still shifting!). Now, I need to have opposition. The most primitive opposition in the toolbox is sound and silence. Then come the differences between the sounds. I have at my disposal high sounds and low sounds, long durations and short durations, timbre varieties, articulation, and dynamics with which I can create opposing forces. Then, I have more complex tools to continue this work that deal with how our mind processes melody, harmony, and meter. This is where the second moment of writer's block hits. "What do I do with all these choices?!" The answer depends on the approach taken. I chose to use fourths and fifths to represent perfection and godliness, rooting it into the perfect interval association from the Medieval ages, and I chose to make minor 2nd configurations into a suffering motive. The task for me is to give the piece life by creating some sort of interaction between these two elements that persists throughout the work, at least for this piece. In traditional narrative form, one of the two ideas would triumph over the other, as if it were battle. I could I have chosen to make godliness triumph over suffering. Yet, Christ chose to keep the wounds in His hands and His feet, which meant that it might not be about putting the suffering behind necessarily. The suffering itself had value. I chose to end the piece by combining perfect fifths and fourths with dissonant seconds, especially in the piano, to create what I personally believe are rich, beautiful sonorities. My oppositions mold into one to become a living thing, as body and spirit come together, first for the spirit to subjugate the body but then to be united eternally in resurrection.

I referred to my thesis piece, Swallowed Up, in that creative process. Of course, there are many decisions to be made, but ultimately the secret to the creative process is making decisions that will impact the course of the music-making, even if it may lead to disaster. I completely scratched my first version of the first movement. I said that I wanted to imitate mushiness in the music. I used a system to increase harmonic fuzz, and it resulted in something that did not work when it came time to make substantial melodies (which I valued in this piece). The third movement also had several prototypes that were well under par. Without those choices, I would not have formed the resultant work.

This is one way to write music. I like metaphors because they give me structure in the endless choices I need to make. Mine are scriptural because my mind is there most often; however, I know of other composers who have used resources such as the Theory of Evolution, The Art of War, painting techniques, and all sorts of word writing practices to formulate their creative processes and specific pieces. If you are an artist, what is your metaphor?

Change of Pace (what's new and thoughts on relationships...)

I call this post a change of pace, not only referring to completing a Master's degree and making the move to Kansas City this summer, but also to the content of this blog. While I doubt that this blog (or my site for that matter) are high traffic areas, I realize that my blog currently reads like an online diary. If you want that sort of information, find me on Facebook :). I will still give brief updates here, but I'm going to dedicate my posts more to my thoughts and feelings on composing music, the music industry, interesting sounds I hear, maybe inspirational topics, etc. In other words, it will be much more analytical and reflective than summarizing.

Alas, here's my brief life update. I graduated in May from the University of Miami with my Master's. Prior to this, my music was featured on Refreshing the Feeling, my recital project, Clarinova, a clarinetist-composer concert, New American Voices, a concert of art songs, the "Prelude Concert" before the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra concert in March, and... that's it. After graduation, I went to Italy for the ALBA Music Festival, where my piece In the Mind of Energy was premiered by Transient Canvas. After much gelato and musicking, I went to Madrid and stared at paintings and architecture for a few days. And this upcoming Sunday my thesis piece will be premiered by PULSE Trio in Blue Ridge, Georgia. I wrote five pieces in the past five months, and four of them in the past two months. It was about an hour of music (the electronics piece goes from 8-30 minutes).

I constantly use music to define, explore, and celebrate intriguing relationships. I am fond of counterpoint, a sinuous relationship between musical objects. The symbolism in my work helps me explore my relationship with God. Music also puts an aural definition on the stirrings I feel, the emotions that overcome me when at the height of composing (those days when things just flow spiritually and leap from mind to paper), and the more concrete relationships of time, space, and motion that become engaging research to me. By identifying, understanding, and tuning into the relationship I have with all these things, my music begins to have personal meaning to me. While I sometimes venture into extramusical realms, almost always the music itself carries a meaning detached from the "program." In fact, extramusical ideas most frequently appear in my work as structural frameworks for my music, giving me a vague road map that I can follow to navigate the compositional process. 

Relationships in music are best established through opposition. When one defines a relationship, it is most frequently assessed as strong, weak, romantic, cold, energetic, dull, and so forth. The common thread between these types of relationships is that they all have an opposite. In regards to music, experienced listeners already have heard a large assortment of relationships play out from the musical repertoire. Newly engaged listeners may not pick up on all the relationships that happen in music simply because of a lack of experience in the matter. There are often quotations from other pieces, styles being imitated, common historical figures, patterns, forms, progressions, harmonies, rhythms, and lyrics that introduce an extremely complex array of relationships that the ear and mind eventually comprehend and put together like an abstract language.  Good music will have a series of internal relationships and opposing forces to develop the work's own personal and nuanced dialect.

While "good music" is hard to define (and some musical radicals will reject the notion completely), it seems like the greatest criticisms from listeners and non-listeners alike have to do with whether or not they could identify with and enter into a relationship with the music. The standard way to create a healthy relationship with the listener is by giving them something and using that something to guide them through the work. That something might disappear at times, but it comes back in some shape or form. This guiding force creates directionality, a type of musical motion that the listener should hear and follow. The most common criticism I hear from teachers to students (and I'm guilty at times of it) is that this guiding, narrative form has been compromised by something of lesser value or that the piece never seems to get where it should have gone. The other criticism is that the relationship between the something and the rest of the music is too obvious and consequently boring. To be artful is to have craft. To be crafty is to never let the music become predictable. "Music that has something to say" for me translates to "Music that is interesting and surprising." A teacher taught me that style is composed of little tricks and surprises along the way. As the listener develops a relationship with the themes, melodies, and sounds of a work, they must be led towards the inevitable without it ever becoming predictable. The relationship established between the listener and directional music works best when dynamic, engaging, witty or clever (whether serious or humorous), and at the same time forward moving with a sense of purpose.

I'd love to talk about relationships in non-directional music, but this is enough for you and me to chew on (I'm sure it will continue to be on my mind). Until next time.


This year has so far been a year of doors opening. The Frost Symphony Orchestra began rehearsing my Four Miniatures and a Prelude for a Somewhat Large Chamber Orchestra last week, and it is exhilarating to hear them work on it. It is rare for most composers to have an orchestral piece rehearsed multiple times before a performance. The premiere of this work is on March 8th at the Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami. I'm grateful for this privilege to work with so many fine musicians.

Another great opportunity has come by way of members of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. They will be performing my chamber ensemble piece strengthen the body/enliven the soul at their "Prelude" concerts March 24th and 25th at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami. The caliber of performers and the venue are the greatest I have experienced in my career (albeit beginning), and I look forward to that weekend.

A third concert will happen March 31st, hosted by clarinetist Jesse Gilday of Frost School clarinetist-composers. My work Stone in Hand will receive its third performance. Other concerts this semester will be tonight's SCI concert, where my experimental work [Breathe if needed] will be performed by Guillermo Ospina, Diego Matallana, and I and my Master's recital concert, featuring works that span my two years here in Miami. 

I am excited to have been chosen to attend the ALBA Festival in Italy this May and write for the bass clarinet-marimba duo Transient Canvas. I have never been to Europe, and I have always wanted to go. I booked a flight to go to Madrid on the return trip so that I can experience a little bit more of the continent.

I am currently working on my Barlow project, Swallow for clarinet, violin, and piano.. I have mentioned it before, but I am writing it for the PULSE Chamber Trio for their Blue Ridge Chamber Music Festival. I am excited to work with these amazing performers, including my clarinet teacher Dr. Margaret Donaghue-Flavin. Following this piece, I have yet to write a song cycle, a bassoon-violin duo, and the piece for Transient Canvas. There is much to do, and I am working constantly to accomplish everything. But all things work out well with faith and hard work.

I have been blessed to have the opportunities I have at the University of Miami. I am fortunate to have been recognized and commissioned by so many wonderful people and institutions. While it only scratches the surface of what is possible for composers, I know that University of Miami has provided me a unique experience through which I could excel. Equally important, I have had a marvelous time in Miami and have valuable friendships and have grown as a person and as a student of music and life. I am still in the process of choosing a doctoral program, but I intend to continue my studies. Onward and upward!

Fall 2016: A Summary

These past few months have been busy and insightful. I began teaching music theory to freshman and sophomore students at the University of Miami and learned how much time it takes to be a thoughtful grader. I enjoy teaching and look forward to continuing to teach hopefully as a career after all my studies. 

I focused my composition efforts over the past few months on revising earlier music and scores and preparing for doctoral applications. This year I have revised almost every score I have made since 2013, and I still need to further revise them. As I continue to revise scores, my vision for how a score should look improves, which is a two-edged sword. My scores tend to look better; however, I feel accountable to bring all my scores to the same level of quality. The most difficult part about making scores is the formatting changes that can happen without one being aware. Even if a composer tries to lock all the systems onto a page, it seems like something can move out of place and stay unnoticed until the scores are printed and sent out. Thankfully, paper is cheap, and if scores are printed out and looked at carefully (especially while listening to the music), a lot of these errors become manifest.

Even with that focus, I managed to write about nine minutes of orchestra music as an addition to Four Miniatures for a Somewhat Large Orchestra. In fact, I added a prelude and changed the title to Four Miniatures and a Prelude for a Somewhat Large Chamber Orchestra. My "Prelude" is based on merengue music. It uses 9 different rhythmic patterns that coexist to create a cumulative groove. However, I assigned each of these rhythmic patterns to instruments, wrote melodic lines to each pattern, and extended these rhythmic patterns to align only every 9 or 10 measures. Because the melodic lines do not repeat, the music constantly moves forward. To provide contrast and relief, the second part of the piece isolates material from the earlier section and arranges them in new ways. To end the piece, I have a start-stop idea after which all the parts repeat a one-beat idea and gradually fade out. As in most of my recent music, I explore counterpoint and form. I feel like counterpoint interests me the most and I always get excited to write it. I especially enjoy "blind counterpoint," meaning I follow the Stravinsky method of juxtaposition and see what the result will be. While I plan out much of my musical content, at times I copy and paste one segment of music against another and new perspectives emerge. Every time one line interacts with another, both lines are given further identity and purpose. Perhaps it is a symbol of our associations with others. Together we gain a stronger identity, as a group and individually, than if we focus on ourselves. If everyone has a voice and works unitedly, society blossoms. I focused on musical ideas for this piece; however, I accept this and other interpretations of my music!

The Atlantic Music Festival and Another Year in Miami

From late June to the end of July, I participated in the Atlantic Music Festival at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  I had the opportunity to meet and briefly study with a handful of accomplished composers, and equally important I made friends with about 40 composers from around the world, all exploring unique styles and interests.  I look forward in keeping in touch with them as we all continue our educations--and I am sure we'll run into each other again.  During that festival I was able to have my piece strengthen the body/enliven the soul for Pierrot Ensemble performed.  Additionally, the AMF orchestra read my piece Four Miniatures for a Somewhat Large Orchestra and Justin Hickmott performed a tuba miniature I wrote in response to the art piece Cascades VIII in the Colby College Museum of Art.  It was worth the time and cost to go.

Now that the festival is finished, I will be focusing on some important commissions.  To my surprise and great joy, I was awarded a Barlow Commission, a grant to write a piece for the PULSE Chamber Trio featuring Margaret Donaghue (clarinet), Scott Flavin (violin), and Naoko Takao (piano).  The piece will be titled Swallow.  I form several connections based on this word.  First, the bird swallow is known as the "bird of freedom" because it dies whenever held captive.  Messiaen often used bird calls in his music because he believed that they were sacred, and I want to pay homage to him in this piece, using a swallow bird song as the main inspiration (not as strictly as he would though).  The second term refers to swallowing food.  After mashing food with the teeth, a swallow brings the food from the mouth into the body.  The food undergoes various filtration processes and eventually distributes nutrients to the whole body.  Thus, something is consumed to give energy to the whole.  The third view of the word "swallow" is scriptural.  Death is "swallowed" up in victory through the Atonement of Christ.  All bad things are swallowed up and made right through the Savior's power.  Related to the bird swallow and the digestive swallow, there is freedom through the sacrifice of the Son.  Finally, an anomaly "swallow" is the sea swallow.  Its sting is deadly, and fits the scenario in that manner.  But it fails to show how death is conquered, so I refrain from using its symbolism completely.  The extramusical will soon be translated and brought alive in music, and I look forward to working on the piece for the next month or so.

With the Barlow Commission, revisions to make before applying to doctoral programs and festivals, and the New American Voices commision, it will be a busy semester.  I am looking forward to writing, learning, and teaching this upcoming school year.  Until next time!

Preparing for the Atlantic Music Festival

Summertime in Miami has been enjoyable.  Working at a flower distribution warehouse by day and writing music by night has been a blast (seriously!), and since the last time I wrote by brother got married to his wonderful wife in North Carolina.  And though I could not see it, Seth Carlson premiered by work, Wend Your Way in Rockford, Illinois.  He has two more Midwest performances of the piece over the summer.

For the upcoming Atlantic Music Festival, I have written a piece for Pierrot Ensemble (without percussion) and for a chamber orchestra with a full brass section. My summertime music for the past two years has tended to be a bit more laid back and, for a lack of a better term, entertaining.  My Pierrot Piece strengthen the body/enliven the soul takes its inspiration from a beautiful  Latter-day Saint scripture:  

"Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul."- Doctrine and Covenants 59:18-19

This scripture, to me, also refers to sounds, and I use my music to celebrate the earth and creation.  

My orchestral piece, Four Miniatures for a Somewhat Large Orchestra, takes a four-note theme and presents it in different ways over each miniature.  The first movement focuses on intense, dynamic shifts.  The second movement is a scherzo created by pure juxtaposition of four-note iterations and long chains of repeated interval cycles derived from the theme.  The third movement, entitled "For Louis (Andriessen, Armstrong, XIV, etc.)" is influenced by boogie woogie and swing.  The final movement takes the four-note theme in a Feldman-esque reflection.

I leave to the Atlantic Music Festival on June 27th and will not return until the end of July.  I am looking forward to this opportunity to study with great composers, meet great people, and hopefully hear my music performed along with many other excellent pieces.  Though I probably will miss NIcaraguan cuisine and Cuban accents, it will be nice to explore Maine for the first time.  Until next time.

A Busy April and a Welcome May

The past month was extremely eventful.  It began with a joint recital with Morgan Denney and Monte Taylor.  I premiered Improvisations V: Two Track Mind on the clarinet, and Romance Sonámbulo received its third performance by Ryan Gardner, Elena Blyskal,, Andy Eshbach, Kevin Gregory, Josh Schwartz, Dana Kaufman, Javier Chacon, and Ryan Hecker.  It was a great evening that came together perfectly, despite a lot of last-minute problems.

Following this concert, Andrew Friedrichs and I premiered a free improvisation work based on the other improvisation piece.  Improvisations 5.2: Two Tracks for Two Minds takes the electronics settings for Improvisations V and assigns pitch and rhythm control to different keys.  The laptop performer gets to interact with the live performer by typing in the next cue.

And finally, Tony Boutté and Jared Peroune premiered Tarde del trópico, a setting of Rubén Darío's poem of the same name, at the New American Voices concert.  Meaning Tropical Evening, it gives the evocative and melancholy narrative of stormy weather over a tropical sea.  My piece won the New American Voices Competition, which means I will be able to write another piece for Tony Boutté. to be performed publicly.

With all these performances finished and with the school year over, it is time for a fresh start.  I will be attending the month-long Atlantic Music Festival starting at the end of June, and for that festival I will be writing a piece for Pierrot Ensemble and an orchestral piece.  Also, I will be writing a piece for Brian McKee and Diana Ramirez (bassoon and violin) and begin my thesis project.  It will be nice to compose without the burden of classwork.

Finally, there will be quite a few changes to my website as I prepare for the Atlantic Music Festival.  I plan to revise all of my scores, put score previews on each of my composition pages, and make an option for purchasing my music for those who have requested it.  I'm looking forward to making those changes, though it will be a large task!  When I'm not composing, working, or revising, I will be taking advantage of all that Miami has to offer!