When I started this blog I fully intended to update fairly regularly. The goal was to have a place where I could vent my frustrations with the world of music, politics, religion, and the various miscellaneous things I encounter daily. I guess the first six months of this page have been no better than a bad New Year’s resolution made at 3 in the morning after a night of drinking and wild partying (or as we call it in the Heathco house, Scrabble Night). I apologize to my readership. The four of you must have been worried sick, losing sleep wondering if I’m alright or if I’ve been kidnapped by Aliens or the government.
Well let me be the first to tell you that I’m doing pretty good right now. The past months have been something of a whirlwind in terms of my music career. As you may know, I have been working pretty diligently on finishing up my grad school work at the University of Houston. I only have a semester and a half left and there is tons of work I still need to complete, namely finish composing the required hour of music for my graduate recital next semester. One of the pieces included in this hour, though not on the recital program, will be my jazz orchestra piece SHRED!, which was written for the Moores School Jazz Orchestra. When I last updated this blog, I had only begun sketching the piece and had very little to actually write about. The piece is now completed and in the hands of the fine musicians that make up the wonderful ensemble. I’ve only heard a couple of rehearsals of SHRED!, and can only say two absolutes concerning the work: A) This thing is hard as hell to play and put together, and B) The end result is going to be pretty effin awesome. SHRED! is a 9 minute work chalked full of extremely dense harmonies, extended passages of challenging syncopations, heavy metal inspired textures, and enough linear independence to make Bach want to punch kittens. Well, maybe not so much the last part, but the independence of many of the lines within each instrument voice is definitely one of the more challenging aspects to putting this piece together. As the performance draws somewhat closer, I’ll spill some more beans on some of the more conceptual ideas behind SHRED!. Look for the concert to be in April of 2011.
In other news, I have been working with Duo Scordatura, writing a cool duet for violin and viola. Duo Scordatura are violinist Nick Leh Baker and violist Faith Magdalene Jones, and are a wonderful group that presents, quite regularly I might add, a wide variety of works of all genres in and around the Houston area. I’m honored to work with them and beyond thrilled that they are performing my music. They will premiere my Duet for violin and viola on November 17th at the University of Houston at 6:30pm (it is free). They’ll be performing the same piece on January 29th at the Dowling Recital Room at Dowling Music. Like the jazz orchestra work, this piece is a bitch to play, but looks to be a very entertaining work (or so I hope).
Lastly, I am super excited to announce that I have been accepted into the DaCamera of Houston‘s 2010-2011 Young Artist Program. The program focuses on career development for young, budding professionals (and career newbies like me) by presenting a number of workshops and performances throughout the season. We’ll also be working with various schools and programs around town, presenting educational projects and programs. So far, I have two pieces scheduled for performance and will be performing (on Electric guitar) on a couple of works. We will be presenting a small number of “thumbnail” concerts at the Menil Collection on November 20th as part of the Stop, Look, and Listen series. My work A Short Movement for Piano and Percussion will be premiered at the Kurt Schwitters exhibit by pianist Makiko Hirata and percussionist Luke Hubley. There will also be a premiere of a work by Rice Composer Charles Halka. The concerts are free and will be running from 3 pm until 5pm. I’m working on a new piece for a December 10th performance at AvantGarden, to be performed on electric guitar with sequencer.