Many tributes and reflections on the significance of Carter have been penned already, including this remembrance in the New York Times. So I won’t try to do anything like that, but instead, I will just say that for me personally, Carter’s music serves as a constant reminder that uncompromising complexity has a place in art. It carves out a vast space where modernism is not only still permissible, but relevant. Carter was the last of the true modernists of this country, after Ives and Varèse. What role his aesthetic will play in the future is up to all the composers out there who hear and respond to it, which is to say, all of us.
A recording of my solo flute piece Axis Mundi, played beautifully by my colleague Beth Chandler, has been posted on the audio page. The title was inspired by a sculpture I saw at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, which reminded me of a flute stood on end. I can’t recall the artist’s name, and …View full post
Nov 07 2012
Apr 04 2012
I was commissioned to write a choral piece for the Berliner Cappella recently, and they have just premièred it in Panama City. The choir is there also to perform the Brahms Requiem with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama. My piece will be performed again in Berlin on April 22–see the poster below for details. The piece is called New Moon, End of October, and it is a setting of a brief, vivid poem by Laurie Kutchins, who is on the English faculty at James Madison University. Check back here for a recording soon…
Jan 24 2012
Violinist Wanchi Huang and I are giving a recital February 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day) at 8:00 pm in the Forbes Performing Arts Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The program features the première of my Violin Sonata, as well as Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and Mozart’s oboe quartet.
Tickets are available here.
Jan 19 2012
Nov 20 2011
A recording of my solo flute piece Axis Mundi, played beautifully by my colleague Beth Chandler, has been posted on the audio page.
The title was inspired by a sculpture I saw at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, which reminded me of a flute stood on end. I can’t recall the artist’s name, and there are apparently a number of well-known sculptures with this title. If anyone knows the artist I’m talking about, please leave me a comment!
Sep 24 2011
Composer, teacher and mentor Frederick Fox, who taught countless students at Indiana University beginning in 1974, died one month ago today. He was a great composer and an incredible teacher, and some of the things he said to me in his irascible but lighthearted way still inform my thinking about music.
Stepping into Fred’s office was always a treat in itself—unusual, irreverent, kitschy and lewd trinkets given to him over the years lined every surface, a vast collection of wind chimes of all descriptions and materials overhung the piano, and posters such as the infamous “Expose Yourself to Art” graced the walls. Even the light switch plate by the door could offend the easily offended. On one occasion, Fred bribed me with one of his artifacts, an irritatingly funny talking ice cream scoop, to get me to change something in one of my pieces that he found distasteful. Rumors of him burning students’ manuscripts (he had a special dislike of fugues, other than Bach’s) were somewhat exaggerated, I suspect.
Beneath his prickly exterior, though, was a true humanitarian, someone who cared deeply about his students, about music, about the world. His depth of feeling shone through particularly in his music, and if you don’t know it, you can find some here and also here.
Fred was a great influence on many young composers, and for most of us who were lucky enough to be his students, we also knew him as our friend.
Aug 23 2011
The last piece on the Piano Extravaganza today was the Galop-Marche by Albert Lavignac. It’s for one piano, eight hands. If you have three minutes to spare, it’s quite a treat.
The performers were Lori Piitz, Ednaldo Borba, Eddy Janning and myself. You can hear the audience laugh a couple of times as we had to rearrange ourselves from one section of the piece to the next, leaning far back to make room for someone else, then diving back in to make an entrance.
After the concert, some of the performers went to lunch, where we all felt the earthquake that rattled the East coast this afternoon. Everyone in the restaurant seemed to take it in stride, though. No panic in the streets of Staunton…