Report from Albany

No, this is not a post about New York’s famously dysfunctional state legislature. I’m talking about the Albany Symphony’s American Music Festival this weekend. I am here for the premiere of a commissioned work, Luminism, and there will be music by Stacy Garrop and John Harbison as well. Read more here, including comments from Albany music director David Alan Miller. I heard a rehearsal of my piece Tuesday evening – the orchestra is sounding very fine. I sent David a lengthy list of requests and suggestions, including two spots where I want to make more than just an adjustment in dynamics – adding a few notes to the contrabass part, and changing the register of the ending. It is late in the game to be making substantive adjustments like that, but David works very efficiently, so I am hopeful we can get everything implemented at tonight’s rehearsal. One challenge is that the stage at RPI’s new EMPAC is a little small – the hall sounds and looks great, but the musicians – in particular the percussionists – are a little crowded.

I was not in Albany yesterday, but in NYC for the American Academy of Arts and Letters Ceremonial. It is a singular experience to be on a stage with Meryl Streep, James Levine, John Ashberry, Michael Graves, Hal Holbrook, Bill Moyers, Garrison Keillor, Marilynne Robinson, Edward Albee, etc., etc. – not to mention my composer colleagues…

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