Update from the Forest

Only two-and-a-half weeks into my career in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m gearing up for an incredibly productive time at the University of Oregon.  This past week consisted of an intense string of meetings and exams, preparing the way for next week’s first day of class.

I’ve been busy at work on Such Beautiful Things, a dramatic work for chorus, soloists, and piano four hands, to be premiered by Choral Chameleon in the spring of 2010 in New York City.  The libretto, by Tony Asaro, is a stunning literary work, and is, in and of itself, already a piece of music.  I am lucky to have landed the opportunity of this remarkable project, and I hope that my contribution does Asaro’s work justice.  As soon as I am close to finishing Such Beautiful Things, I will write more about it here.

Revalia Male Chamber ChoirMy plate o’composition is beginning to fill up rather quickly, now that I am operating within an academic environment.  There are three great projects lined up for UO composers, and we are expected to write a new composition for each.  First, the Revalia Male Chamber Choir from Estonia will be visiting the university in November.  As part of their residency, they will read works written especially for them.  We are allowed to write only two-ish minutes of music, and so my plan is to write a “Kyrie,” which will eventually become the first movement of a five movement Mass for a cappella male chorus.

Two other vocal projects ensue in the winter and spring academic quarters.  The first is a pairing of Robert Kyr’s composition students with Nicholas Isherwood’s voice studio, where composers will design songs to suit the unique voices of their vocal counterparts.  In the spring, famed soprano, Lucy Shelton, will pay a visit to the university, offering a masterclass to voice and composition students.  Again, composition and voice students will pair up for this event.

Another project made its way to me from outside of the university.  My old friend and fellow composer, Abe Fabella, has asked me to compose a new work for solo organ for a recital at Loma Linda University Church in May.

All of this among many other things!

To be doing what I love in a place that supports and encourages it is a real luxury.  Here’s to a great start in beautiful Oregon!

Before I sign off, I must share some thrilling news.  My choral work, Sempiterna, was one of five compositions given “honorable mention” for the 2009 EAMA prize.  Congratulations to Stacy GarropRobert Xavier RodriguezJames Smith, and Dave Volpe for also receiving this honor.  After reading a bit more about these composers, I realized this pool of artists is extraordinary, and I am humbled to be associated with each of them.

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