Trying to diminish a sense of tonality is like trying to kill God, the transcendent. You cannot do it. Even atonal pieces that give no acknowledgement to tonality do not succeed. The fact that you are aware of the lack of tonality shows that tonality exists. No matter how hard someone tries to diminish this, it will never be fully successful. The fact we know when it is night shows that day exists. Even if we were engrossed in only night for years, we'd still long for day.
The University of Akron Faculty Brass Quintet gave "Monterey Sketches" a wonderful premiere last week! They have such gentleness to bring out subtleties, yet intense playing when the music calls for it. The entire concert was extremely enjoyable. Here is a recording of this fine group performing the piece:
A great composer has passed. I was first introduced to David Maslanka's music while working on my MM at Central Michigan. Symphony no. 4. What a piece. That piece not only changed the way I write music, but it gave me a wonderful vision of heaven that can never be taken away from me. Here is the ending of the great work:
When the Old One Hundredth sounds in it's fullness I see the victory of Christ as He entered back into His Father's presence after completing His work on this earth. This is a vision no other piece of music has ever been able to give me.
Maslanka visited MSU a number of times during my graduate studies. I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak. He was kind and gentle. A deep thinker. He stayed true to what he believed and why he writes music. This clip of him speaking below also had a great impact on me and encouraged me in ways I cannot explain here.
Michael Brest recently sent me this video of his performance of "Poem at Cantwell Cliffs"
I am amazed at the musicality in his playing and am beyond pleased and impressed with this performance of my piece. This is exactly how I imagined the piece to be played.
I have attended each International Trumpet Guild conference for the last 4 years as my music has been performed. I always enjoy being surrounded by the sounds of trumpet and catching up with old friends (and making new ones!) This year my trumpet solo, Refractions, was featured on the New Works Recital. Rob Waugh approached me about a year ago to write him a solo. He mentioned that he'd like it to be a piece that his students could also easily perform. He performed the third movement of this piece on the recital in Hershey, PA. He sent me a recording of the piece from a recital he gave at his school last Fall, but it was so wonderful to finally hear his big and beautiful sound live.
It was also great getting to catch up with a former Michigan classmate, Jason Bergman. He is such a great trumpet player and is a person of great personality and character! He has some of my music in his hands and I can't wait to hear what he does with it.
It was a great conference as always and I walk away ready to write some new music!
"It occurs to me to wonder: are you a better person for having heard a great work of art? Are you morally a better person, I mean? In the largest sense, I suppose you are, but in the more immediate sense, I doubt it. I doubt it because i have never seen it demonstrated. What happens is that a masterwork awakens in us reactions of a spiritual order that are already in us, only waiting to be aroused. When Beethoven's music exhorts us to "be noble," "be compassionate," "be strong," he awakens moral ideas that are already within us. "
Over time, works of great beauty can change a person. These works can bring out the person you are meant to be. Protect your ears from mere entertainment. Find the music that will carve out channels within your soul where beauty and courage can be stored.
My music will appear on two CDs that are due out in the next few months.
I am fortunate to have such great players with beautiful sounds recording my music.
Tonight the Bath Spa University Wind Band gave Beauty Broken its world premiere in England!
Three new works have resulted from visits to certain locations at Hocking Hills in Logan, OH. The first work is for unaccompanied trumpet: Songs of a Sojourner. My goal with this work was to create primarily lyrical unaccompanied pieces for the instrument, because many of my colleagues have asked for this style. I am also interested in creating unaccompanied works that can serve the performer in his private practice. I received the comment that these pieces have a calming effect and have served as a meditation practice.
The other two works flow from these pieces. To give trumpet players another option, I wrote an accompanied version of the first piece in Songs of a Sojourner. This piece is titled Poem at Cantwell Cliffs. The final piece uses the remaining 3 pieces in Songs of a Sojourner. This piece, Poems, is written for solo euphonium and piano.
Plans for performances and recordings of these three works are being set up now!
Though this rushed and wearied world often forsakes us-It needs musicians and poets to remind it that life is not about usefulness. It's about loveliness.
And maybe in so doing-we'll find in the end that these professions proved to be most useful of all.
Music is invisible and bodiless.
Yet it's weight will astonish you.
Monterey Letters, Performance at the University of Akron by Mike Waddell on euphonium on February 1st and at Akron University on February 11th.
Postcard from Monterey and Solace Dance, Premiere planned at Davis Middle School February 13th
Monterey Letters, Performance at Mississippi University for Women by Dr. James Zingara on trumpet on March 3rd.
Monterey Letters, Performance by Kate Amrine on trumpet in New York, NY in the Spring (date TBD)
Until the Peace Comes, Premiere planned by the ATLAS quartet in March
Seeds, Premiere planned by Eduardo Farias on piccolo trumpet at Michigan State University in the Spring. (date TBD)
Unless a Seed Dies, Performance by Josh Ganger at Indiana Wesleyan University (date TBD)
Peanut Butter Jam, Premiere at Gahanna Jefferson Middle School East on their Spring concert
Beauty Broken, Premiere planned at Bath Spa University in Europe in April
Refractions, Performance by Robert Waugh at the ITG conference in Hershey, PA in May
My trumpet solo, Refractions, written for Professor Rob Waugh has been selected for the New Works Recital at the 2017 ITG conference. It's always a pleasure to attend these conferences and be around great trumpet players!
The Scioto Marching Band received a Superior rating at the OMEA State Finals last weekend. I am so pleased with how this group managed my music and it has been a great experience walking with them through the whole season.