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Have You Heard?: Summer Has Ten Thousand Stars

My first performed orchestra piece was inspired in part by Walt Whitman poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” The piece captures some of the wonder of staring into the star-filled sky on a dark summer night.

I just read a speech by Brigham Young University President Kevin Worthen in which he identified mentorship as one of the things that makes that university special. I’m most indebted to that mentorship for this piece. Eric Hansen, director of the BYU Symphony, offered to read the piece’s first draft. My composition teacher Michael Hicks then showed the piece to Kory Katseanes, director of BYU’s top auditioned orchestra and of the School of Music.

Kory not only invited me to complete the piece for performance on one of the BYU Philharmonic’s concerts, but also mentored graduate conducting student Jamie Teot in conducting it. The concert was part of a celebration KBYU is having for its 50th Anniversary in 2010. Before the premiere, I also got to chat with Thinking Aloud host Marcus Smith about the piece. In the interview, I talk more about the piece’s artistic genesis.

Click here for a perusal score or to order score and parts.