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!

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2012: Year in Review

A few days ago, I said goodbye to a very exciting and eventful year. In 2012, I got a great amount of work done and saw new levels of success with my music. With the completion of my new band arrangement of Toward Sky’s End came 6 performances throughout Texas and at the Wisconsin-Superior Tri-State Honor Band Festival. The original orchestral version of Toward Sky’s End was performed by 3 professional orchestras from Texas and Michigan and my newer composition Affirmation had it’s premier and 2 more subsequent performances by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. I started selling my holiday saxophone quartets in the fall and in the few months since they went up for sale, I sold dozens of copies across every region of the USA as well as Germany and Australia (my first international sales!). Besides my compositions, school has been off to a great start and I ended my first semester with a 3.77 GPA.

2013 is looking to be a good year as well. I am looking forward to taking my compositions to new levels as I begin studying with the incredible UT professors and maintaining the same academic success in my classes that I had in my first semester. I have a great piano accompaniment job coming up for a high school solo and ensemble competition in February which is proving to be a great gig and one I hope to expand on in the future. If 2013 is anything like 2012, it should be a great year (and from my experience, every year seems to be better than the one before…). It’s hard to imagine what the future will bring – a couple years ago I never would have dreamed of all of the opportunities that I stumbled on in recent times. I’m looking forward to another exciting and eventful year – stay tuned for (hopefully) lots of updates!

Hook ’em

Radio!

I was driving this evening a little before 10:00pm and was humming the 3rd movement of Pines of Rome in the car. While I was humming it, I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to actually hear some real music?’. We just got back from Hawaii and had been there for almost 2 weeks and I hadn’t listened to KMFA since before we left, so I figured that I’d flip to that real fast and hear what was on. I started listening to what was playing and started thinking, ‘hey, that sounds familiar’, then after a couple seconds I realized they were playing the Austin Symphony’s April 20, 2011 performance of my piece Toward Sky’s End! You have to imagine the shock and surprise – I was just turning on the radio and had no idea what they were going to be playing, and it was my piece! Anyways, I guess it was the Classical Austin show with Dianne Donovan and she was joined by Peter Bay who was highlighting some of the music they had recently played. They ended the whole program with my piece and even played it in the background while they were talking. Best part, she said my last name correctly!

Upcoming Performances

I got confirmation today that the Heart of Texas Concert Band under the direction of Mr. Mark Rogers will be performing my recent band adaptation of Toward Sky’s End for 3 concerts in the upcoming weeks, 2 on the 4th of July and one on the 8th. The Austin Symphony’s performance of the original orchestral version of Toward Sky’s End is still on for their 4th of July Concert and Fireworks. Last night was the Flint Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Toward Sky’s End in Flint, Michigan. I can now say that my music has been performed throughout the US (and all throughout Texas). See my Performances page for details.

Performance in Michigan!

I just got a notification from Maestro David Mairs that the Flint Symphony Orchestra in Flint, Michigan will be giving a performance of Toward Sky’s End at 7:00 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2012 during a summer concert in the park series. This concert focuses on American music and composers and I will be one of the composers featured. If you happen to be out in Flint, Michigan next Thursday, go catch this free concert and hear Toward Sky’s End!

Graduation, etc.

I had my final day of high school last Friday and graduated the following Saturday. The graduation ceremony started with me conducting the McNeil High School Wind Ensemble performing my recent band setting of Toward Sky’s End and finished about 2 hours later (after some interesting speeches and 703 of us walking the stage). I still haven’t listened to the video we took of the performance, but I might put it on YouTube if it’s any good.

Now that school’s over, I’m thinking about picking up my saxophone some more and trying to get back into shape before I start at UT next fall. I’ve also started working on a new 3 movement piece for SATB saxophone quartet that I hope to have finished by August.

It looks like the band version of Toward Sky’s End might get some more performance in July. I’ll post dates as soon as I get confirmation. I got official notice that the Austin Symphony programmed the orchestral version for their 4th of July pops concert.

As a little side note, we got a copy of the Austin Symphony’s small promotional “get closer to the music” magazine in the mail. I was tickled to see a picture of their conductor, Peter Bay, holding a copy of the score for Affirmation (open to page 26, by the way) when I opened it up.

News/Upcoming Events

I found out recently that I was a recipient of the Thomas A. Caswell and Rebeca Diaz Caswell Memorial Scholarship for band students in the Austin area going to UT! The Austin Symphony’s last performance of Affirmation at the 2nd Annual Young Composers Concert went very well. Lately, I’ve been busy working on a new arrangement of Giamperi’s Carnival of Venice for solo clarinet and band for McNeil’s Spring Concert next Friday, where we’ll be featuring our clarinet teacher Vanguel Tangarov.

Later today is the Mid-Texas Symphony’s performance of Toward Sky’s End at 4:00 in the New Braunfels Civic Center. Like I mentioned earlier, our band’s spring concert is this coming Friday. Besides my Carnival of Venice arrangement, I’ll be conducting the premier of my new wind ensemble version of Toward Sky’s End and we will have a joint production between the MHS wind ensemble and choir of selections from Orff’s Carmina Burana, which I have helped organize. It’s been a very busy couple weeks, but it’ll be all done soon enough.

Upcoming Events/News/Article

The Austin Symphony Orchestra is performing Affirmation this coming Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 7:30 at the Long Center as the last piece of the 2nd Annual Young Composers Concert. This concert features the top 7 entries in their 2nd Annual Young Composers Contest. Tickets are cheap, only $8.

The McNeil High School Wind Ensemble has begun working on my new band arrangement of Toward Sky’s End which they will premiere on May 11, 2012. Should be a great concert. Rehearsals are going very well and I’m very excited about all of it.

I have accepted my admission to UT Austin’s Butler School of Music as a composition student.

Finally, the article from Austin Monthly has been published online and can be read here. The article, called “The Wunderkind Years” by Anne Lang features profiles four Austin area athletes and myself.

Updates/News

The April issue of Austin Monthly Magazine which features me in one of it’s articles is now being sold around the Austin area. The article, called “The Wunderkind Years” by Anne Lang features profiles four Austin area athletes and myself.

The wind ensemble arrangement of Toward Sky’s End is now complete and I am in the tedious process of making parts. Luckily, I’ve had so much practice making parts lately that I’m getting pretty efficient doing it. The McNeil High School wind ensemble will be performing it at our final concert this year on May 11 and I will be conducting. I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to work with the band and think it’ll be a great last experience in the band before I graduate.

Preparations are still underway for the Austin Symphony’s performance of Affirmation next month on Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 at the Long Center. This weekend I’ll be recording a video interview about the piece that will be featured before the performance of the piece at the concert. Rehearsals begin in 4 weeks!

The Central Texas Civic Trombone Choir is still working on my piece Two Moods for their upcoming concert in April. Rehearsals are awesome and I’m excited to hear the premier!

Lastly, the McNeil Sax Ensemble is beginning to work on our Spring/Summer program, which will include some cool blues, rock, and pop music with our usual tunes. Go to my YouTube Music Performance Channel to hear some of our stuff.

Busy time!

The 3 premiere performances of Affirmation took place last week at Travis and McNeil High Schools and were all spectacular! Each performance was better than the performance before it and I am very happy with how they all went. I’m liking my piece more and more every time I hear it! Now that the relaxing time of getting to listen to my music is over, it’s back to work. There are a number of revisions I am making to the piece and I am generating my own set of parts (which I can expect maybe 1/2 hour per part times 33 parts…). Just gotta get all that done in the next month or so in preparation for the next performance at the Long Center on April 26 with Peter Bay conducting. I can’t wait!

I also just found out that the Mid-Texas Symphony under the direction of David Mairs (the conductor who led the ASO in the premieres of both Toward Sky’s End and Affirmation) will be performing Toward Sky’s End in their May concert this year!

The premiere of Two Moods in coming up on April 16 with the Central Texas Civic Trombone Choir. I’m really excited for that also and can’t wait to work with them more in preparation for the concert.

Finally, I am working on a band transcription of Toward Sky’s End (which is actually the ensemble that it was originally envisioned for, not orchestra) which I will conduct at my final concert with the McNeil High School Wind Ensemble this coming May.

A list of all recent/upcoming performances for the year can be found under the new Performances page.