Performance in Spain

Clarinetist Wolfgang Puntas just shared this video of him and the Banda Sinfónica Municipal de Sevilla in Spain giving an outstanding performance of my 2011 arrangement of Bassi’s Fantasia da Concerto for Solo Clarinet and Concert Band.

Back from Chicago, On to Jacksonville

My brother and I had an amazing time in Chicago this past weekend. Our whirlwind trip included stops at the Art Institute, Millennium Park, the top of the Hancock Building, the Lincoln Park area, and attendance of concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and St. Petersburg Philharmonic. We also waited an hour to eat deep-dish pizza and authentic Chicago hotdogs for the first time (I still feel terrible). Chicago is an incredible place – the city’s architecture is beautiful and their public artwork was inspiring.

Now, I’m back in Austin for a couple days before my trip to Jacksonville, Florida where the University of Alabama Symphonic Band under the direction of Randall Coleman will be performing Toward Sky’s End at the 2014 CBDNA Southern Regional Conference on Saturday, March 1 at 4:00pm. Their entire program also includes works by Daniel Montoya Jr., Bert Appermont, Percy Grainger, David Maslanka, and Eric Whitacre. I can hardly believe that my piece is being performed alongside works by these great composers – I’ve been listening to many of them and have performed their works since I was in middle school band. I’m looking forward to meeting Mr. Coleman and the UA Symphony Band as well as other attendees of the conference and can’t wait to hear the performance on Saturday!

CBDNA/News

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, the University of Alabama Symphonic Band under the direction of Randall Coleman will be performing Toward Sky’s End (Band Version) at the 2014 CBDNA Southern Regional Conference (University of North Florida, Jacksonville). I am thrilled to say that I will be in attendance along with fellow Austin composer Daniel Montoya Jr. whose work, “X“, will also be featured on the program. I fly out the morning of February 28th and the performance will be the next afternoon. This will be my first time to travel to work with a group and hear one of my pieces performed. I can hardly wait!

Besides that, the year is off to a good start. Classes at UT are looking to be great this semester and I have just begun studying with renowned composer Donald Grantham. Besides my trip to Florida, I will be taking a trip to Chicago with my brother in mid-February. I can’t wait to see Chicago for the first time. I’m hoping the weather is bearable… we had a light freeze in Austin that practically shut down the city. People have told me to be prepared for single digit temperatures plus strong winds – can’t even imagine. Should be interesting to say the least. Lastly, my works have seen recent sales in Europe as well as my first sale to Asia! It’s been an eventful January – let’s hope it keeps up for the rest of the year!

Upcoming Performance by UA

This University of Alabama Symphony Band will be giving their first performance of Towards Sky’s End Monday, November 18, 2013 at 7:30CST. This concert is in preparation for their upcoming performance at the 2014 CBDNA Southern Regional Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. If you would like to listen to the live streaming of the concert, click here!

Butler Pops Fanfare – Premiere

In September, I received a commission from the Austin Symphony Orchestra to compose a short fanfare to open the concerts of their Sarah & Ernest Butler Pops Series. I completed the piece in the 2nd week of October and the Butler Pops Fanfare was given it’s premiere performance at the Butler Pops season opener “Superheroes” on Friday, October 18, 2013 in Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts!

Photo from the Oct. 7 Clutch Concert

The performance of Klezmer Holiday at the University of Texas CLUTCH Concert on Monday, October 7, 2013 was great! Thanks to my friends who put that together – it was a real blast to play that piece again. Fellow UT composer Steve Sachse took some great photos of the concert and I wanted to share one:

CLUTCH - Oct. 2013-32

 

Upcoming Performance

After a last minute program change, 3 of my friends and I will be performing Klezmer Holiday at the upcoming University of Texas CLUTCH Concert on Monday, October 7, 2013. The concert will feature numerous other solo and chamber works by UT student composers and will take place at 7:30 in the Music Building’s Recital Studio.

School is Back in Session

I really need to get better about posting updates on here! My last update was right before summer break started from classes at UT. Now that it’s over…. The summer was great – relaxing and productive and eventful! Lots of dancing games. Actually, way too much dancing games! Besides 3 weeks of family visiting from all over the country, the highlight of the summer was a 9 day road trip with my dad to New Hampshire to deliver a car to my uncle. Across the 13 states we drove through, our stops included Memphis, Nashville, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, and Manhattan (where we spent 2 days and walked about 20 miles!). It was a really something to be able to see so many historic parts of the country that until then I had only seen and heard about in books and on TV and the computer.

A particularly exciting piece of news over the summer was that the University of Alabama Symphony Band has programmed Toward Sky’s End to close their performance at the 2014 CBDNA Southern Regional Conference in Jacksonville, FL next Spring! I’m thrilled to have a band from such a great school performing my work at such a great venue.

School started last week and is off to a good start. My current composition project is a piece for pipe organ that I am writing for my past piano teacher for the re-dedication concert of the recently renovated organ at University Presbyterian Church. As I talked about a few months ago, I have switched my principal instrument to piano. I had forgotten how gratifying it is to play the piano and have rediscovered a passion for playing that I haven’t had in a long time.

I’ve said it before – stay tuned for more updates. I think it’s time to actually start doing more updates. We’ll see…

Apus and Schumann’s Arabeske

I recently finished another Starbird, IV. Apus (the Bird of Paradise). Despite representing one of the faintest and most underwhelming constellations in the night sky, the piece is (ironically) very fast and exciting and as the 4th of 9 pieces in the full suite serves as the mid-point finale. The next piece to be completed (hopefully this week) is Pavo (the Peacock). I might post some demo recordings in the next couple days… we’ll see.

I do have a recording to post today though! I am planning on switching my principal instrument from saxophone to piano and have prepared Robert Schumann’s Arabeske in C Major, op. 18 to perform for the piano faculty at UT. It is an absolutely incredible piece – painfully beautiful, wistful, and poignant. I have worked on it in my spare time for the last couple weeks and have now prepared it to the point that I can play it all the way through with few to no mistakes. This is probably my favorite piece that I’ve ever played. Hope you all enjoy the recording (and make sure to listen through the end – the epilog is just stunning).

Cygnus

It’s been a while since I posted anything… nearly 3 months. So much for “lots of updates” I guess! Quite a bit has happened, actually, but most relevant is my newly completed piece, “Cygnus”, for cello and piano. Back in January, I started what will be a long term project called “Starbirds” which is going to be a suite of nine pieces for cello and piano, each piece inspired by one of the nine constellations representing birds. The first piece I completed is “Cygnus”, the swan – (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful and interesting constellations in the night sky. I’m quite happy with how the piece turned out and look forward to eventually getting a recording to share on here. I don’t have any performances lined up yet but am hopeful for one later in the fall or winter. The next piece (already in progress) is “Columba”, the dove, which I anticipate completing in the next couple weeks.

Other projects to be tackled this year: a new piece for wind ensemble and a piece for pipe organ for my old teacher to be premiered at the re-dedication service of the University Presbyterian Church pipe organ in February 2014. A few more star-birds as well! Stay tuned for more.

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