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.
June 2: A recording of my piece for flute and piano, Shadowdance, will be broadcast over radio station WPRB 103.3 FM on a show titled Classical Discoveries hosted by Marvin Rosen. The broadcast will part of a American Music Festival. My piece will be aired sometime between 7 and 10 am EDT. WPRB broadcasts form Princeton, New Jersey but you can listen online at https://wprb.com/popup-player/.
June 3: Paul Phillips will conduct the Stanford University Symphony Orchestra Winds in a performance of my orchestration of four piano pieces by Gioachino Rossini titled Rossiniana in a live-streamed concert at 8 pm PDT (11 pm EDT). The link to listen is https://vimeol.com/event/773576. Stanford's JackTrip, an open source software application that enables live performances over the Internet with greatly improved accuracy and fidelity, will be used for the live-stream. The sound quality should be excellent.
October 11: 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 may be live-streamed.
October 14: The New World Trio will give a pre-premiere performance of my Sweet Prospect at the Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, CT at 7:30 pm.
October 17: The New World Trio will give the premiere performance of my piece for violin, cello and piano, Sweet Prospect, at St. John's Episcopal Church (679 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, CT) at 2 pm. The three-movement work is based on tunes from the eighteenth and nineteenth-century repertoire known as Sacred Harp or shape-note singing. There is no admission though free-will donations are accepted.
October 21: The New World Trio will give a post-premiere performance of my Sweet Prospect at the Seabury Retirement Community in Bloomfield, CT in the chapel at 7:15 pm.
October 24: The great United States Coast Guard Band under the direction of Commander Adam Williamson will perform my bassoon concerto, Guignol, at Leamy Hall on the grounds of the US Coast Guard Academy (time to be determined). 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. All Coast Guard Band concerts are free and open to the public. On October 26 the band will record Guignol and General Lavine - eccentric, the first recordings for an anticipated CD of my works as performed by the Coast Guard Band.
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 and other ensembles will participate as well. 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.
New World Trio
The New World Trio premiere my new work for violin, cello, and piano, Sweet Prospect, on Sunday, Ocotber 17, 2021 in the beautiful Saint John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, Connecticut. The ensemble features three musicians who play significant roles as performers and teachers in the musical life of the Greater Hartford area: violinist Anhared Stowe, founder and artistic director of the NWT and former Hartford Symphony section leader; cellist Peter Zay, member of the Hartford Symphony and principal of the Plymouth Philharmonic in Massachusetts; and pianist Pi-Hsun Shih, internationally active chamber musician and soloist.
The New World Trio commissioned me to compose a work, Harp of Canaan, in memory of longtime community and arts activist Sally Williams. I based the piece on a unique American repertoire of communal choral music known as Sacred Harp or shape-note singing, a genre that had its origins in New England. I was pleased with the results and decided to add two additional movements to the original movement to make a longer concert work. Sweet Prospect also exists in a version for string orchestra.
Bassoonist Frank Morelli Performs Guignol at Yale
Bassoonist extraordinaire Frank Morelli performed my gnomic 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.
Frank Morelli rehearses Guignol with conductor Thomas C. Duffy and fourteen members of the Yale Concert Band in Woolsey Hall.
University of Hartford
Adult Learning Course Features Four Virtuosi Performing Music
of Stephen Michael Gryc
I had a great time teaching my course for the University of Hartford's adult learning program, The Presidents College. The course was titled "Composer and Performer: How Music is Created". The three sessions were held in the university's 1877 Club on three successive Wednesdays in October of 2020. I talked about how ideas for specific pieces originated and were developed into a work and how that work was brought to life by collaboration with performers. The first session (October 16, 2019) featured harpist Susan Knapp Thomas performer five pieces that I composed for a production of Shapespeare's As You Like It and my Five Studies on Exotic Scales for solo harp. On October 23 the Amaranth Duo (guitarist Christopher Ladd and violinist Asa Gudjonsdottir-Skelton) performed my Iceland-inspired work Runes I: Frejya's Aett. On October 30 the course concluded with a performance by flutist Janet Arms of Five Preludes for Flute, a work inspired by picturesque sites in Hangchow, China. Janet brought eight of her students from the Hartt School to perform my short piece for flute octet titled A Pop Of The Cork.
Susan Knapp Thomas