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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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

Hear Performances from Australia!

As a wrote about last week, the Adelaide University Medical Orchestra ”Christmas Crew” gave an awesome performance of a couple of my holiday saxophone quartets on Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM last Thursday. If you are interested in listening to that broadcast, it can be heard here.

Their saxophone quartet also recently put up a great video of them performing Hark! The Herald Angels “Swing” that I wanted to share:

Thanks to Jolie Miller for sharing these awesome performances!

Congrats to the Westwood High School Jazz Sax Quintet!

Congratulations to the Westwood High School Jazz Sax Quintet who recently won 1st place in the High School Group Instrumental division of the Majic 95.5 2012 Muse Awards performing my arrangement, Hark! The Herald Angels “Swing”. They and the other winners will be performing again at a public concert on Sunday, December 2nd at Texas Performing Arts Bass Concert Hall at 2:00PM. Click here for more info!

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.

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.

Premier of Two Moods, etc.

Below is a youtube video of the Central Texas Civic Trombone Choir’s performance of the premier of my piece Two Moods (2011) for Four-part Trombone Ensemble:

Also, last Friday our band had our UIL performance. We performed (among other things) selections from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (arranged for concert band by John Krance). The performance was probably our best ever and extremely exciting to be a part of. Below is the video of the McNeil HS Wind Ensemble’s performance:

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.