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“Ring out the old . . .”

“It's the most Janus-like time of the year.”
“It’s the most Janus-like time of the year.”

It’s been a good year for composition. It hasn’t been such a good year for blogging, so it’s time to highlight the best of 2012 and the opportunities coming in 2013. I’ll start in this post with 2012.

Second Performances

My biggest milestone this year was finally having pieces enter performers’ regular repertoire. I wrote “Icarus and Daedalus” in February for Arianna Tieghi, who since performed it twice this summer.

“night flocks of angels trumpet” was an excerpt from A Field Guide to Natural History that I arranged for violinist Katie Jensen, who performed it earlier this month. It’s my favorite movement from an otherwise long, difficult, and unusual quartet (read “unlikely to be performed”). Field Guide was performed twice in 2011 in its original form, and now with this arrangement for violin and piano, I hope the music will have a continued life. (Violinists, I will soon post an excerpt from the performance. Seriously. Check it out: it’s really pretty.)

Finally, “fangled contraption” continues to be my surprise hit. It was performed only once in 2012 but already has 5 performances scheduled for 2013 by the AWEA Duo, at which point it will have been performed 10 times. Sure, the New York Times won’t be picking up the story any time soon, but it’s sure cool (and reassuring) to see my music starting to have a life among performers.

Master of Music

In other significant news, in April I finished my MM in Composition at Brigham Young University. Seven years of study later, my time as a BYU student is finally over. Studying at BYU gave me exceptional performance and teaching opportunities and honed both my musical perceptions and my ability to articulate them. Perhaps in another post, I’ll give more highlights.

Since then I haven’t really gone anywhere. I still work for the College of Fine Arts and Communications as an editor. But being on campus doesn’t feel the same when you’re staff. Considering the lack of finals (or any assignments), great checkout priveldges at the library, employee discounts at the Bookstore, etc., it’s better.

highSCORE Festival

Over the summer, I attended the highSCORE Festival in Italy, where I made some good friends, heard their great music, and got to have a new string quartet performed. I also got to have some inspiring lessons from Amy Beth Kirsten and Dmitri Tymoczko.

Collaborations with Neil Thornock

Some of the most fun I had this year was in collaborating with Neil Thornock. Dr. Thornock was my composition teacher for part of my undergrad and much of my grad work. He’s also a great organist and carillonneur. In January, he commissioned me to write “Marginalia” for organ, which was premiered on a Salty Cricket concert in March. Later in the summer, I wrote “Under an Orange Sky,” which we recorded in November.

All in all, 2012 was a good year for me. I was able to work with some great performers, expand my network, and grow as a composer. Stay tuned for what’s coming in 2013.

One comment

  1. Elisabeth Kaseda says:

    Loving the mythology references! Hadn’t heard about “Icarus and Daedalus” before, but between it being one of my favorite stories, it being on my favored instrument, and the lovely writing, it just might be a new favorite.

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