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- I think I've finally settled on a title for this flt/pno piece: Silverpoint. (Title inspired by ow.ly/lln6o) 14 hours ago
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- @andyleedma @ziodavino "Doctor My Ass!" 16 hours ago
- Ok, this piece is done...now all it needs is a title! 18 hours ago
- @jaybatzner I kinda hate dips. But rotation push ups sound bizarrely fun.... 18 hours ago
Category Archives: Photos
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
After a frankly hellish few months at the day job (everyone agrees), I was finally able to take a few days away from the office to, y’know, get some writing done.
With a whopping FOUR commissions on my plate, all of which need to be done by March 10, I was wildly behind on getting things done, and desperately needed some uninterrupted writing time. Or, at least, minimally interrupted. Ok. A few hours strung together here and there that didn’t take place after I’d been sitting behind a desk for eight hours, to which this weekend was both perfectly and horribly suited. Perfectly because it was already a long weekend, and appending two days to it would be ideal; horribly because I knew that Saturday would be devoted to preparation for a concert I performed on, and I had tickets to see Powder Her Face on Sunday – both of which would absolutely involve carousing afterward.
So, I took Friday and today off, and have spent a significant amount of time either at the piano or in front of the computer.
On Friday and Saturday, I did the latest round of revisions to Only Air so that it’s ready to show to the last in a short series of mentors who I want feedback from. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and blissfully constructive.
Here is a jpeg of page 1 of the score (yes, I know that there are a still a few engraving errors):
Yesterday afternoon I finished my choral setting of They Lie at Rest, from a longer poetic work by Christina Rossetti. As always, it was exciting to put a double bar on a new piece. When I sat down at the piano yesterday, I had the final two stanzas of the poem to set, and they flowed out with a minimum of fuss. I also learned that there’s no singing allowed at the memorial the choir had expected to perform it at, so they’ll just do it elsewhere on the same trip.
Here are the cover and first page:
If only every day were like today!
Friday, November 2, 2012
While doing the recording of my as-yet-unreleased-and-generally-unannounced choral music EP back in May (MAY!!) with the Illinois State University Madrigal Singers, the director of the ensemble, Karyl Carlson, briefly brought up the subject of the next piece that the school would be commissioning from me for their winter concert this year. Because we were on a break in the middle of recording six works, we only spoke briefly, and vowed to bring it up again soon. Several months went by, and we finally started talking brass tacks. The commission negotiation process was lengthy but uncontentious, and some compromises were made on both sides, as will happen with friendly negotiators. What began as a proposed 10-12 minute work, was scaled back to 7-10 minutes, and further revised to two smaller pieces, one of which, due to time constraints and other looming deadlines, will be delivered post-concert and premiered in the Spring.
The first of the two pieces, titled When Music Sounds, was finished just this past weekend while Hurricane Sandy swept through – and swept away part of – town. Karyl had emailed me the poem “Music” by Walter de la Mare toward the end of the negotiation process, and I absolutely fell in love with it. In my first sitting, a full third of the piece just flowed out. Kismet!
One of the fun little things that I discovered while writing this piece is that I probably need never print out a text again so long as I have my handy-dandy little tablet nearby. Ok, so it’s not so little – it’s the 10.1″ Samsung Galaxy Tab – kind of a monster, and I love it!
And if I clip poetry I like to Evernote, I’ll never be without the texts I’m working with!
I’m really happy with the way this piece turned out, and I’m currently in the process of paper proofing the score, doing all the fiddly things that don’t always stand out on the computer screen.
I’m really looking forward to hearing the ISU Mads perform it in December – and I’m definitely looking forward to writing the companion piece, Voices!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Darien and I are fortunate to live in Astoria not just because of all the great restaurants, but because we’re far enough from the East River, etc, and high enough that we suffered no ill effects from Hurricane Sandy. Our neighborhood seems to have sustained relatively little damage, though mass transit hasn’t been an option until today, and that’s been limited to buses only since the MTA is still hard at work cleaning up flooding in the various subway tunnels.
There were a few downed trees, this one being the worst of them.
As we walked up to it, of course, our first reaction was to shout, “Facebook!” and take pictures. Thusly:
This morning, I hoofed across the Queensboro Bridge so that I could submit this week’s payroll for the day job. Although the CFO had offered to pay for a car for me, after I saw this, I knew I only had one option. Every entrance to the bridge was locked up, and things just weren’t moving.
So: to the bridge!
The last time I made this walk was in December 2005 when the MTA went on strike and I lived in Astoria for the first time. I was temping at the time, and marginally more (chronically) broke than I usually am now, so I needed to get into Manhattan to be a (*shudder*) receptionist (I hate phone work) for an architect in Midtown. Those few days are a story unto themselves (and slightly scandalous, but we don’t talk about those things here, now do we?).
From up on the bridge, you wouldn’t really know that a major natural disaster had just ravaged New York.
I made it into Manhattan in record time, listening to Andy Lee‘s recording of William Duckworth’s Time Curve Preludes along the way (an excellent group of pieces excellently played!), and did the whole walk from central Astoria to 56th & 6th in just over an hour, passing only one sign of the storm.
Well, not the only sign….
That infamous dangling crane? Yeah, that’s one block away from the office, and visible from a few feet down from the entrance.
The street was cordoned off to all but those who live or work there. I was allowed to pass, and consequently got payroll in with hours to spare! (Though not without having had NUMEROUS nightmares about it last night…) I’ve been a hero at the sparsely-staffed office all day since I single-handedly made sure that everyone was paid. And there was much rejoicing.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
These are from a little field trip we took on our last night to the Saloon at the Occidental Hotel.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wednesday night, after dinner, I invited the residents to my studio for a little concert and conversation.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I write this from my hotel room in Denver, on my weekend-long (planned) layover in the Mile High City.
The remainder of my stay at Ucross was quite enjoyable, and remarkably busy. I didn’t finish the new orchestra piece, though I’m very close to the end, and very happy with what I’ve got written so far. I’m glad that I shelved what I’d attempted during my first week there – it was vastly inferior to this piece. (The aborted attempt, by the way, was to be three meditations on literary characters: Miles Malpractice from Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, Divine from Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers, and Robert de Passavant from Andre Gide’s The Counterfeiters. The movement I scrapped was on Divine. The new piece has no literary underpinnigs. I’m waiting until I’m done, and have a satisfactory title to publicly reveal its inspiration.) The piece exists still in the form of detailed short score – I decided to leave it in manuscript form for the time being, and orchestrate it in one fell swoop at the end.
On Tuesday the 22nd, Travis Ivey, Edan Lepucki, and I participated in the Apache Foundation Tree Program by planting two Canada Red Chokecherries in the yard near the office. It was a really fun way to spend an hour: getting the trees from the Apache nursery, digging the hole, setting the tree in, filling the dirt around the base of the tree, and securing and fencing it in. I pounded in two of the poles that protect the trees from the wind, which was noisy and fun and made me shout “Hulk smash!” Now when I go back in a few years, I can check on how well my not-so-little tree is faring.
Wednesday evening, I gave a little concert in my studio after dinner at the request of some of the other residents. I played through the new piece first, and the residents who had heard the first section during our evening of open studios two weeks prior were particularly pleased by the additions. Then, "In the dark pine-wood" again for the new folk. And in between sessions of conversation, I played and sang through some pop tunes from a cabaret act that I’m working up with Darien and Danny. (We call ourselves the Bright Young Things – another Waugh reference in my life!).
And Friday. The Last Day. Although I had spent the previous few days packing in small bursts, I was up early to make triple sure that I had everything packed and/or mailed off. Then a stop by the office to thank Sharon again for her invitation two years ago (again, publicly, thank you, Sharon!), and to let her know how beautiful / peaceful / amazing the area is, and how fantastic I felt about the work that I was able to do there. It really is a fantastic program, and I look forward to applying again as soon as the three year grace period between residencies is up.
Five of us left Friday morning: Edan Lepucki, Manil Suri, Shannon Fowler, and I flew out of Sheridan International, and Stephanie Ognar started her two-day drive back to Illinois. Our flight was delayed an hour because Great Lakes has a monopoly in the area and can do what it pleases while charging insane prices. They apparently made an unscheduled stop to pick up extra passengers in another town, which caused several passengers to miss their connections in Denver. Nice. The flight was at least uneventful (a little bit of a rough landing).
And there ends the tale of my residency at the Ucross Foundation. (Denver is its own story, which I’ll surely relate soon.)
I’m really happy to have gone, despite my initial misgivings about being in rural Wyoming for so long. It’s a beautiful area with lots of nature-y things to do, and some really wonderful people. The staff at Ucross are all amazing, fantastic people, and I’m so glad to have met them all! Sharon again gets singled out for thanks for her generous invitation. Cindy made the most fabulous meals – possibly the best dinners I’ve had in my entire life – she’s a real artist, herself! Kate, Mike, and Mary Ann were so friendly and great, and fun to talk with. Thanks to Tina for helping me with the various packages I sent and received, and the dozen or so off-color postcards I mailed to friends and family. And Ruthie – she did so much through the course of the four weeks that I have to limit myself to saying that she’s a really fantastic person, and a really fantastic cook, as well!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In training for the Hipster Olympics.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Some photos from the hike on Saltlick Trail.
The path at one point. For this whole portion, I had “In the dark pine-wood” stuck in my head.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Time certainly flies when you’re having fun!
This past week was fairly productive. I started the week doing my VCCA re-application for the Spring, and being reminded that I already applied to MacDowell in January, so I have to wait a few more months ro apply again (which saved me considerable time and aggravation).
I got through the second section of the orchestra piece, which still remains title-less, and started in on the third major section. I’m particularly happy with the piece so far, but I also feel as though it will fall completely into place once I find a suitable title.
Thursday, I went with Stephanie and another of the residents to Ten Sleep to do some hiking (and painting, in the case of Travis) and general sight-seeing. The drive out was particularly beautiful – the Big Horn Mountains looming closer, the terrain seeming to change constantly. We only stayed in Ten Sleep long enough for Travis to buy a milkshake at Dirty Sally’s, and turned aorund to find a hiking trail with a good view. We settled on Saltlick Trail, maybe 10 minutes outside of Ten Sleep. After a quick lunch, Travis set up his easel, and Stephanie and I hiked off into the wilderness. It was a good 2 hour hike, and we got nearly to the top of the mountain before deciding that to go any further would leave us far too exhausted to make it back.
Much of the trail was incredibly narrow, and bordered a steep dropoff that was more than a little vertigo-inducing at times. Walking uphill, although tiring, was never much of a problem; but walking downhill, because of the sandiness of the trail, and the many loose rocks, proved to be a bit nerve-wracking on occasion. The sun was what made the whole thing so tiring (in the best of all possible ways) – the trees were generally sparse, so the sun beat down on us all day. Afterward, we were forced to cool off in Ten Sleep Creek, which was absolutely frigid, but also absolutely refreshing.
The only thing that wasn’t compltely fantastic about the day was the fact that my camera decided to make life difficult for me. The lens cover, which opens and retracts automatically, suddenly stopped opening all the way, so I was forced to help it open every time I turned it on or I took it out of power save mode. Consequently, if I forgot to open the cover, photos turned out like this:
Friday was the weekly town run, and once again I was the only person to go. This time, my main necessity was a new camera. The Kodak EasyShare Z730 was no longer worthwhile with its poor battery life, semi-broken function wheel, and barely-working lens cover. I spent Thursday evening and some of Friday morning looking up new cameras (ok, admittedly, I’d been looking for days already, but this brought things to a head), and had narrowed my choices down to a few good point-and-shoots. The clincher would be whatever was available at the Sheridan Wal-Mart (*shudder*).
I spent about 40 minutes staring at the few available cameras that were on my list: a couple of Canons and a Nikon or two. The Nikons were eliminated from the running based on the lack of viewfinder – the best way for me to steady the camera is to hold it to my face, and the Nikons didn’t allow for that. My other options were the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS or the SD1200 Digital ELPH. The former seemed to be the better camera, and was the ideal price. But it was pink. Pink! No thank you. I did some asking around, and I could get a non-pink camera to the store in 2-4 business days if I paid extra, but I was given the runaround on where to make such a thing happen, so I gave up. I never like giving my money to Wal-Mart anyway, so I had that little consolation.
Fortunately, Kate knew of a photo shop just down the street, so we tried there. I was in luck! They had the A1100 in silver (exactly what I wanted) at the same price as Wal-Mart! Plus, they had better service, and it was a local business, to boot. Win!
So, now I’m the proud owner of a Canon PowerShot A1100 IS (silver). So far so good, though I should have picked up more rechargable batteries (I left all of my AAs at home, though I have an overabundance of AAAs for my BodyBugg), because the pair of alkalines that came with it are already nearly dead.
Stay tuned for photos from the hike, and from the new camera!