cover-medium_large_fileI just got word that Mimi Stillman and Bart Feller will give the New York City premiere of my Badinerie Squared, the little take-off on the Bach B-minor Suite movement that I wrote for Mimi and Jeffrey Khaner. It’s on a program of the New York Flute Club, to be held at 5:30 pm on October 18th at Engelman Recital Hall in the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (entrance on East 25th Street). More info here. You can read about the piece here, and order a copy here.

51242736(1)One more performance for the coming season to note: The Call, my choral setting of the same verses by George Herbert (at left) that Vaughan Williams used in one of this Five Mystical Songs, will be done by the Carolina Choir of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on November 13. Susan Klebanow will conduct.

I have been very fortunate to have my choral music done by a few fine organizations, but it has been a challenge to broaden that user base. Maybe this first college performance of my choral music will be the start of a trend.

If you are puzzled by the title of this post, try this.

Two season announcements have come out recently, confirming dates for performances in New York and Philadelphia:

– The New Juilliard Ensemble, conducted by Joel Sachs, will give the New York premiere of my From a Book of Hours on Tuesday, November 17 at Juilliard’s Paul Hall. The soprano soloist will be announced later. This is the chamber ensemble version of a work I originally wrote for the Chicago Symphony, who premiered the piece in 2002, with Lisa Saffer, soprano, and Antonio Pappano conducting. It sets, in German, four poems by Rilke from his collection Das Stundenbuch. I made the chamber version, scored for eleven players, for the 21st Century Consort, with Susan Narucki, soprano and Christopher Kendall, conducting. These forces recorded the piece for my Sacred Songs CD on Bridge.

– Robert Maggio, Jennifer Higdon, Andrea Clearfield and myself are writing short choral “Alleluias for Alan” in honor of the Mendelssohn Club’s recently retired artistic director Alan Harler. Mine will be premiered on March 5, 2015 at the Temple Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia with the group’s new artistic director Paul Rardin on the podium. If I am to set just the word “alleluia”, it means I don’t have the patterning of a text to suggest a musical form; therefore, I’m going to have to come up with my own structure, and I am thinking about a set of variations on a repeated bass or chord progression. We shall see, too early to say for certain what will happen. Read more about the Mendelssohn Club’s upcoming season here.

The e-mail I got this morning from the MacDowell Colony reporting on its recent Medal Day festivities including a link leading to a page about Gunther Schuller who was to have received the MacDowell Medal that day, had he lived. There are several videos on that page; the following, revealing Gunther in his home, is particularly moving.

Gunther gave the commencement address at the Cleveland Institute of Music this year:

CIM has also posted some chats Gunther had with Joel Smirnoff and Keith Fitch:

Enough talk, here’s some music – The Miro Quartet playing Gunther’s 2014 String Quartet:

More Gunther videos here.

I want to call your attention to a couple of items recently added to the performances page:

Youmee Kim, a member of the piano faculty at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, was part of the consortium that commissioned my Pure Contraption, Absolute Gift. She will play the piece in Glidden Hall on the OU campus this coming September 27. I’ve written about the piece here.

– I first met soprano Mary Mackenzie at the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival several years ago when she performed my Three Sacred Songs, and she has since performed my music a number of times. Mary will include that same set of arrangements of chant melodies (Jesu Dulcis Memoria, and Christus Factus Est) and a carol (O Fillii et Filliae) on a program with pianist Heidi Louise Williams at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, on November 20. The Three Sacred Songs were later orchestrated for chamber ensemble, with another arrangement added, to make the Four Sacred Songs, which are included on the Bridge Sacred Songs CD. Mary and Heidi are planning a CD that will include several pieces of mine, including the big cycle Holy the Firm, the individual songs Shadow Memory, and Waltzing the Spheres, plus an arrangement of How Can I Keep From Singin’?

Gary White will lead the Philadelphia Sinfonia in my Variations on a Hymn Tune at the Temple Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA, next January 24. I wrote the piece for the Council Rock school district in Bucks County, PA, basing it on a 19th century hymn tune “Ebenezer”, written by Welsh composer Thomas J. Williams. Although I came to know the tune with the text “Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow”, my music does not reflect that lugubrious title!

You may have noticed the link at the end of the recent NY Times review of the Tanglewood performance of my Dark the Star – it takes you to a YouTube posting of a track from the Bridge recording of the piece. The recording is by William Sharp, baritone, the 21st Century Consort, and Christopher Kendall, conductor. You really should pick up a copy of the disc (there are links to do that at the Bridge website), but if you disdain physical media (and paying artists for their work!) and want to hear the piece from the beginning, go here. Dark the Star consists of nine movements played without pause, which means the separate videos for each track of the piece interrupt the flow in disconcerting ways, sometimes in mid-phrase – another reason to spring for the physical disc. The pieces from the Sacred Songs cd featuring soprano Susan Narucki are also on YouTube – here’s the first track from the cycle Holy the Firm.

Another way of listening to my work is to visit the audio excerpts link above. I’ve just posted two items:

– under solo voice, you can find the recent premiere of Shadow Memory, with soprano Lisa Williamson and pianist Rami Sarieddine, recorded at SongFest this past June. The piece is on a text by Susan Orlean.

– under instrumental, you’ll find the Oboe Quartet I wrote for Peggy Pearson and the Apple Hill Quartet, this taken from their performance at St. Paul’s in Brookline, MA this past spring.

And, yes, I was thinking of this title when I titled this post, though not of the book’s content.