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.
April 1: Trumpet soloist Joel Treybig will perform Evensong with the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Symphonic Wind Ensemble with conductor Brendan Caldwell. The free concert will take place in Gamble Auditorium on the Barea, Ohio campus at 7 pm (EST). Masks are required. The concert will be live streamed at: https://boxcast.tv/view/04-01-22symphonicband-715311
April 20: The University of New Mexico Wind Symphony will remember their great leader, Eric Rombach-Kendall, with a performance of Rossiniana. The piece is an arrangement of four of Rossini's late piano pieces that I made as a gift to Eric who commissioned more music from me than any other conductor. The concert will be at 7:30 pm in Popejoy Hall on the Albuquerque campus.
April 21: Evensong will be performed the Wind Ensemble of the University of Texas at Tyler with trumpet soloist Gavin Clarke, an undergraduate student currently studying trumpet with Prof. Jeremy McBain. Felix Torres will conduct. The concert will take place in Vaughn Auditorium on the Tyler campus at 7:30 pm (CST) and will be live streamed through the "UT Tyler School of Performing Arts" Facebook page.
April 24: Trumpeter Gavin Clarke will perform Evensong in the version for trumpet and piano on his senior recital at the University of Texas at Tyler. Gavin will be accompanied by pianist Elena Daughtery. The performance will be at 5:30 pm (CST) in Braithwaite Recital Hall on the Tyler campus. This will be the seventh performance of Evensong this concert season. It's gratifying to see this piece becoming standard repertoire for trumpet.
May 2: I will return to the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut for a recording session with the US Coast Guard Band. The band, under the direction of Lieutenant Commander Adam Williamson, will record my orchestration of four piano pieces by Rossini titled Rossiniana. POSTPONED
May 10: The New World Trio (violin, cello and piano) will perform my Sweet Prospect in a preview performance at the Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Connecticut at 7:30 pm.
May 14: The New World Trio will perform my Sweet Prospect in another preview performance at 2 pm in the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. The museum is located at 144 West Main Street in downtown Waterbury at 144 West Main Street. You must pay the admission fee to the museum to attend the concert.
May 15: The New World Trio will give the official premiere performance of my Sweet Prospect in the beautiful St. John's Episcopal Church in West Hartford (679 Farmington Avenue) at 2 pm. Free-will donations will be accepted at the door. Sweet Prospect (a three-movement composition for violin, cello and piano) is based on tunes from a uniquely-American genre know as Sacred Harp singing. I will be interviewed by New England Public Media's classical music host John Nowacki before the concert.
May 16: The New World Trio (violin, cello and piano) will perform my Sweet Prospect again at the Seabury Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Connecticut at 7:15 pm in the chapel.
May 19: Emmy and the P's will perform my Harp of Canaan at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford, Massachusetts at 7:30 pm. Emmy and the P's performs an eclectic mix of traditional fiddle tunes, tango, classical and more. Emmy is violinist Emmy Holmes-Hicks and the P's are cellist/guitarist Peter Zay and percussionist Piero Guimaraes. I made a special arrangement of my work for this group which substitutes vibraphone for the original piano part. General admission is $25.
May 29: The New World Trio (violin, cello and piano) will perform my Sweet Prospect at the Norfolk Library in Norfolk, Connecticut at 4 pm. The library is located at 9 Greenwoods Road East in Norfolk's historic district. The concert is free but you must call the Library at 860-542-5075 or register online to reserve a place. There will be a reception following the concert where you may meet the performers and me.
July 15: My Six Romances After Mendelssohn for ten wind instruments will be performed by the Neoteric Chamber Winds at the closing concert of a week-long Wind Band Conducting Workshop at the University of Minnesota. The free public concert is at 5:30 pm in the Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall at 2106 South 4th Street on the Minneapolis campus. The performance will be live streamed at: z/umn.edu/musicstream
July 21: Members of the Oakland Symphony will perform my Six Romances After Mendelssohn for ten wind instruments in an outdoor concert conducted by Kalena Bovell, a great young talent with a rapidly rising star. The program will also include my orchestration of Debussy's Girl with the flaxen hair. The concert will take place at Township Commons, a park in a growing waterfront neighborhood in Oakland, California known as Brooklyn Basin. Specific information about time and admission to come soon. NB: The Oakland Symphony has CANCELLED its summer series of concerts. RATS!
September 14: The US Coast Guard Band will perform my Six Romances After Mendelssohn for ten wind instruments in a concert at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. Details soon.
September 16: Tree of Life for trombone, harp and strings will be performed by trombone soloist Haim Avitsur and the Hartt Philharmonia under the direction of Edward Cumming. The concert will take place in Lincoln Theater on the University of Hartford campus at 7:30 pm. The work is my response to the murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg in 2018.
Dutch Duo Perform
"Music for Tuba and Timpani" on New CD
Cora Dellebeke and Stefan Knuijt
Knuijt en Dellebeke, a remarkable mother/son duo from the Netherlands, has recorded my Music for Tuba and Timpani for a CD issued by Zefir Records in 2021. Percussionist Cora Dellebeke and her son, tubist Stefan Knuijt lead independent musical lives. Cora performs with the Zeeland Orchestra, and Stefan plays in the Marine Chapel of the Royal Navy. Cora is also a conductor and teacher, while Stefan is active as a composer and arranger. The duo performed the works on their new CD in concert on September 19, 2021 in the Zeeuwse Concert Hall in Middelburg, Netherlands. The recording, both in digital as well as CD form, is available from many retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and Tower Records.
I found an amusing Dutch review of my piece that reads in translation as follows: The American composer Stephen Cyrc [sic] is represented with his three-part "Music for Tuba and Timpani', not a pompous work, but on the other hand not harassing the ear or the perception. Both musicians expressively dig as deep as possible and know how to turn it into a true sound festival."
First African Performance Features Egyptian Oboist
Renowned Egyptian oboist Wessam Amin performed my Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Bela Bartok with his Cairo Classical Ensemble on October 31, 2021. 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
Malak Gabr Theater, Cairo
Tree of Life Receives Premiere at University of Rhode Island
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, 2021 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 Performs and Records Guignol
Lieutenant Commander Adam Williamson
The United States Coast Guard Band gave a brilliant performance of my gnomic bassoon concerto Guignol on October 24, 2021 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 - eccentric. The 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 concert, 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 compact disc 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
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, 2021 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.