News and Performances

The music that I have chosen for my news page is the second movement from my brass quintet,

Desert Light. Click on the arrow to hear it if it's not already playing.

Mirage from Desert Light - New Mexico Brass
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FALL PERFORMANCES

September 10: Members of the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra will perform my String Quartet at an outdoor concert in Hartford's Elizabeth Park at 6 pm. The concert is free. Come early and stroll the gardens and grounds in this gem of a park. Enter the park at 1561 Asylum Avenue in West Hartford.

September 14: The US Coast Guard Band's Flute and Harp Duo, flutist Meera Gudipati and harpist Megan Sesma, will perform a suite taken from music I wrote for a production of Shakespeare's As You Like It at the Guilford (CT) Community Center (32 Church Street) at 10 am. The concert is part of the Schiller Shoreline Institute for Lifelong Learning and is open to the public.

September 22: The Hartt School's new music ensemble Foot In The Door will perform my Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Bela Bartok in the version for soprano saxophone and string quartet on a free concert at 7:30 pm in Lincoln Theater on the University of Hartford campus. To attend in person you will need to show proof of Covid 19 vaccination at the door and wear a mask during the concert. If you can't attend, the concert will be live-streamed at:

https://www.hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/hartt/performances/livestream.aspx

September 23: It will be a busy week for me when I revisit the Hartt School for rehearsals of four pieces to be performed by various Hartt ensembles. On September 23 I will give a guest lecture at Prof. Jessica Rudman's orchestration class to talk about my Concerto for Horn and Orchestra and explain my overall approach to orchestration. The horn concerto will be premiered at Hartt on September 25.

September 24: The Hartt Wind Ensemble and Hartt Symphony Band will present a concert in the Lincoln Theater on the University of Hartford Campus at 7:30. The Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Glen Adsit, will perform my Masquerade Variations on a Theme of Sergei Prokofiev, and the Symphony Band, under the direction of James Jackson, will perform Evensong with trumpet soloist Phil Snedecor, Hartt's great trumpet professor. To attend in person you will need to show proof of Covid 19 vaccination at the door and wear a mask during the concert. If you can't attend, the concert will be live-streamed at:

https://www.hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/hartt/performances/livestream.aspx

September 25Hornist Barbara Hill and the Hartt Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Edward Cumming will give the premiere of my Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in a concert in Lincoln Theater on the campus of the University of Hartford. Barbara Hill is principal horn of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The work was commissioned by the Hartt School for its centennial celebration. To attend in person you will need to show proof of Covid 19 vaccination at the door and wear a mask during the concert. If you can't attend, the concert will be live-streamed at:

https://www.hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/hartt/performances/livestream.aspx

October 6: The University of New Mexico Wind Ensemble performs Six Romances After Mendelssohn, a piece commissioned by that same ensemble, on a concert in Popejoy Hall on the Albuquerque campus at 7:30 pm. Eric Rombach-Kendall conducts.

October 17: The New World Trio will give the premiere performance of my work for violin, cello and piano, Sweet Prospect, at St. John's Episcopal Church (679 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT) at 2 pm.

POSTPONED: new date: May 15, 2022

October 24: The great United States Coast Guard Band under the direction of Commander Adam Williamson will perform my bassoon concerto, Guignol, at a concert of wind chamber music at Leamy Hall on the grounds of the US Coast Guard Academy at 2 pm. Brooke Allen will be the bassoon soloist. I have orchestrated a Debussy piano prelude, General Lavine - eccentric, for solo bassoon and the same instrumentation as Guignol, and that will be performed as an encore. I'll be in the audience which will be limited to the Coast Guard Academy community, but you can see and hear the livestream at: https://www.youtube.com/UnitedStatesCoastGuardBand/live

October 26: I will return to New London, CT for a recording session with the US Coast Guard Band. The recording of my bassoon concerto, Guignol, will be the first of several recordings of my wind music that will make up a CD of six or seven of my works by the Coast Guard Band.

October 30: The University of Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Ann Danis will perform the premiere of my Tree of Life for trombone, harp and strings with trombone soloist Jordan Jacobson. The concert will be at 8 pm in the Fine Arts Center on the Kingston campus. General admission is $12 while tickets for students and seniors are $7. Children under 12 are admitted with no charge. The piece is dedicated to the eleven victims of the 2018 murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

October 31: I'm excited to announce that my piece for oboe and string quartet, Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Bela Bartok, will be performed at the American University in Cairo by internationally renowned oboist Wessam Amin and his Cairo Classical Ensemble. The concert will be held at 1 pm Cairo time (7 am Eastern US time) in the Malak Gabr Theater, part of the AUC's New Cairo Center for the Arts. I will share the program with living Egyptian composers: Amr Okba, Ashraf Fouad, and John Baboukis. The concert will be live-streamed at https://youtu.be/YZiCOH6O_xs but you'll have to get up early to see/hear it.  

November 15: Bassoonist Tiffany Coolidge will perform Guignol: Pantomime for Bassoon, Piano and Percussion on a free recital at the Hamel Music Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison at 6 pm. Tiffany is a doctoral student at UW. She has performed with many orchestras in New England and was principal bassoonist with the Connecticut Valley Orchestra and the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra. This will be the premiere performance of the trio version of my bassoon concerto.

November 19: Saxophonist Derek Granger will perform my Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Bela Bartok for soprano saxophone and string quartet on a recital at the Hartt School at 5 pm in Berkman Recital Hall on the University of Hartford campus. Derek is completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Hartt School. The recital will be live-streamed. Here's the link: https://www.hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/hartt/performances/livestream.aspx

November 21: Students and faculty at Washburn University in Topeka, KS will honor me with a concert of my works at 3 pm in White Concert Hall on campus. Thomas Seddon IV will conduct the Wind Ensemble. A highlight of the concert will be a performance of my Guignol: Concerto for Bassoon and Small Wind Orchestra that will feature soloist Austin Way. Other of my works to be performed are Golden Gate (a three-movement tone poem inspired by San Francisco) and the Masquerade Variations on a Theme of Sergei Prokofiev.

December 3: The Belmont Wind Ensemble under the direction of Barry Kraus performs my Evensong with trumpet soloist Joel Treybig in a  performance on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Joel recorded the piece in a version for organ and trumpet (see CDs page). The concert is free; masks are required. The program will be live-streamed and archived at:

https://www.belmont.edu/cmpa/music/events/live-stream.html#McAfee.

First African Performance Features Egyptian Oboist

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Wessam Amin

Renowned Egyptian oboist Wessam Amin performed my Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Bela Bartok with his Cairo Classical Ensemble on October 31. This was my first performance on the African continent. The concert took place in the beautiful Malak Gabr Theater, part of the New Cairo Center for the Arts on the campus of the American University in Cairo. Wessam Amin is the principal oboist with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and is Professor of Oboe at the Cairo Conservatoire. The instrumentation of the Cairo Classical Ensemble is oboe and string quartet, the exact instrumentation of the Fantasy Variations. I shared the program with three other living composers who are on the faculty of the AUC: Egyptian Ashraf Fouad, Austrian-born Amr Okba and American composer and choral conductor John Baboukis. The concert was live-streamed with excellent audio quality and good camera work. The archived performance can be watched at: https://youtu.be/YZiCOH6O_xs

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Malak Gabr Theater, Cairo

Tree of Life Receives Premiere at University of Rhode Island

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Jordan Jacobson

Trombonist Jordan Jacobson performed as soloist with the University of Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ann Danis in the premiere of my Tree of Life for trombone, harp and strings on October 30 at the Fine Arts Center on the Kingston campus. A versatile classical and jazz musician, Jordan has performed with many prominent symphony orchestras throughout the US and is an artist teacher at URI. The harpist for the occasion was Megan Sesma who is a member of the United States Coast Guard Band (see below).

 

Tree of Life is a somber yet hopeful meditation composed as a response to the murders of eleven members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg in 2018. The work is dedicated to the memory of the victims. The piece is not principally a lament but rather a statement of solidarity with minority groups of every kind and of rededication to the ideals of equality and justice for all in our country.

United States Coast Guard Band To Perform and record Guignol

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Lieutenant Commander Adam Williamson

The United States Coast Guard Band gave a brilliant performance of my gnomic bassoon concerto Guignol on October 24 at 2 pm in Leamy Hall on the grounds of the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Lieutenant Commander Adam Williamson conducted the ensemble and band member Brooke Allen was the bassoon soloist in this concert of chamber music for wind instruments. Guignol  is scored for an ensemble of fifteen players including woodwinds, brass and percussion. The band also gave the first performance of my arrangement of a Debussy piano prelude titled General Lavine - eccentricThe Debussy arrangement is for the same instrumentation as  Guignol  and is meant to function as an encore with the bassoonist again performing as soloist. The concert was lived streamed.

Two days after the October 24th concerto, the same musicians recorded both Guignol  and General Lavine - eccentric in Leamy Hall as the first of a series of recordings which will make up a complete CD of my wind music. The idea for the recording came from Adam Williamson as a complete surprise to me. I am now composing a work for harp and wind ensemble for the Coast Guard Band and its extraordinary harpist, Megan Sesma. The work will be premiered during the 2022-23 concert season and will be part of the recording project. What a thrill it is to be working with the wonderful musicians in one of America's greatest bands.

Barbara Hill premieres
Concerto for Horn with the
Hartt Symphony Orchestra

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Barbara Hill

Hornist Barbara Hill, conductor Edward Cumming and the Hartt School's Symphony Orchestra gave a brilliant premiere performance of my Concerto for Horn and Orchestra on September 25  on the University of Hartford campus. Barbara Hill is graduate of the Juilliard School, principal horn with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and a teacher at the Hartt School. She is in demand as an orchestral musician and performs with such great orchestras as the Boston Symphony. After hearing many of her performances with the Hartford Symphony, I knew that I had to compose a piece for this wonderful artist, and the horn concerto became my principal occupation during the darkest days of the pandemic. The work was commissioned by the Hartt School as part of its centenary celebration. This was the third time that Edward Cumming has conducted a premiere of my music. He had previously led the first performances of my violin and trombone concerti with the Hartford Symphony. Having such great musicians as Barbara and Edward on the faculty makes our school one of the best in the country. I hope to put some part of this recorded performance on the LISTEN page.

Bassoonist Frank Morelli Performs Guignol at Yale

Bassoonist extraordinaire Frank Morelli performed my bassoon concerto Guignol on February 14, 2020 in Yale University's Woolsey Hall in New Haven, Connecticut. He was accompanied by the Yale Concert Band under the direction of Thomas C. Duffy. I attended this thrilling performance. Morelli is a member of the famed and much recorded Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is the bassoon professor at both Yale and the Juilliard School. This was the tenth performance of the work. It was also the last concert I attended before the pandemic ended the concert season.

Morelli/Yale Band

Frank Morelli rehearses Guignol with conductor Thomas C. Duffy and fourteen members of the Yale Concert Band in Woolsey Hall.