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).

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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.

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.

NEW PIECE! Finished Mvt. 1

After almost a month of working amidst marching band and the rest of my life, I have finished the 1st movement of a large scale piece I am writing for wind ensemble. The piece (tentatively called “Ocean Currents”) depicts inanimate features of the ocean. The first movement is the introductory movement and I haven’t exactly picked a title yet, but it introduces and combines main aspects of the next three movements in a 7 minute tumultuous journey. The 2nd movement (depicting a storm) is now underway. It will be followed by a calming and more serene depiction of the night once the storm has dissipated in the 3rd movement. The 4th and final movement will depict the sheer power of the ocean (as well as the nature in general), starting with the sunrise, building waves, a not-so-scary-as-the-2nd-movement rain, and then a combination of the 3 for a huge finale. Now that I’ve reached this first milestone, it is my hope that the rest starts happening more quickly. My hope is to complete this piece by mid-November to submit in my music school audition portfolio. Along with that, I have to write a new piece for the Austin Symphony’s 2nd Annual Young Composers Competition and arrange a bunch of Christmas music for saxophone quartet, both by the end of October. I hope I can find the time for all of this between marching band and school… I’ll have a finale generated recording of the first movement very soon!