The Composer’s Guide seems to have largely taken over my blog, which I’m mostly fine with, but I feel the need to inject a bit more “me” into it, if y’all don’t mind.

Life has been incredibly hectic the past few months, mostly in good ways.

Earlier this year, I arranged Growl for full orchestra, which I’m very proud of. It’s my first real orchestral piece (that I’ve actually finished and also claim in my catalog), which earns it the lion’s share of my pride (pun not intended). But it also marks a significant shift in my thinking about orchestration, both in terms of mechanics and plain ol’ confidence. My history with writing for the orchestra goes back almost 10 years at this point, and I’m sure that’s a whole blog post in and of itself (and maybe about six months of therapy, to boot). Suffice it to say that my confidence in this area was low to begin with, and was further undermined by a few ill-timed and careless remarks by a former teacher. Fortunately, studying with David Del Tredici and being with Darien Shulman (whose orchestrational chops are amazing) have cured most of my deficiencies in mechanics and confidence. So, anybody looking for a 5-minute, ostinato-driven, ominous-sounding orchestral piece with a title that’s both evocative and inspired by a spam email, gimme a call!

In late June, I spent a long weekend in Minneapolis for the ChoralConnections conference, sponsored by the American Composers Forum and Chorus America, and presented in tandem with CA’s annual conference. It was a great few days filled with wonderful presentations and panel discussions, really cool composers and choral folk, and maybe a bit too much booze. Of course, I totally dug on Bill Holub’s copyright / licensing / contracts / self-publishing presentations, and I wish that every composer had been at this 5-hour, intense session. I also wish that every composer had witnessed Stephen Paulus’s 20-minute, espresso-fueled rant on why every composer should charge more. (Lemme tell ya, that’ll light a fire under ya.) One of the most interesting parts of the conference was dubbed Composer-Conductor Speed Dating Sessions: 10 composers and 10 choral conductors in 3-minute speed-dating-style meetings. These were really great opportunities to meet new people who are genuinely interested in commissioning and programming new choral music – and there are a surprising number of them out there! Every one of those little three-minute meetings was about an hour too short! I was fortunate to continue to run into many of the conductors I met throughout the rest of the conference, which was very nice. I think, though, that the event that was the most fun and will probably be the most fruitful was after the conference had ended – an evening of dinner and drinks with a group of composers, conductors, publisher representatives, and all-around good people that lasted well into the night, and would surely have gone on longer except that the bar closed…. And I should give a special public thanks to two great friends for helping to make the trip possible for me: Ed Windels, an excellent composer and great friend; and Harriet Bart, an incredible visual artist and wonderful host and friend.

Then back to Minneapolis a few weeks later for the wedding of two good friends, Chris and Alissa Brody – I feel like I know Minneapolis far too well, now!

And now I’m in the middle of possibly the craziest month of the past few years. I’m in the middle of moving in with Darien – after having been together for 6½ years, we’re finally packing up our things and our cats and putting them all in the same apartment. On top of apartment hunting, packing, finding movers, and trying to remember what companies I need to change my address with, I’ve got six (SIX!) commissions, two websites I’m designing, an EP of my choral music that ‘m hoping to release in the next month (more on that soon), and a concert to plan/execute for the end of August (again, more soon).

Sheesh! Gotta get to work….