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  • Coast to Coast for Longy 100

    Coast to Coast for Longy 100

    This year the Longy School of Music celebrated its centennial during its annual SeptemberFest. All summer, Longy promoted a call for video submissions of new works that are up to 100 seconds long for their celebration. 100 seconds for 100 years. Initially, I felt that this might be an opportunity that I could not reach. I am fairly confident in my abilities to write miniatures and also confident in my audio mixing skills. Although I have dabbled in making short videos before, I was unsure if I could find people to perform my music, record it in a presentable way, and put together in a 100-second video performance in time for the celebration.

    As the deadline drew closer, I realized I could not pass this up. I decided to write a piece that I can perform. So, I began sketching the guitar and electronic parts. As my ideas started to come together in a more cohesive way, I decided to reach out to my friend and fellow Longy graduate Isabella. I have always wanted to write something electro-acoustic for Isabella, but she currently studies at UCLA. Longy recently expanded from the East Coast to the West Coast where Isabella lives. I decided that I could write this piece to commemorate Longy's expansion with performers at both locations. Also, Isabella creates videos and maintains an active YouTube channel. So, despite the distance, she became a natural partner for an online collaboration.

    Initially, I planned on filming myself with my iPhone and rely on Isabella's experience to put the video together. Isabella had a friend with a more professional camera that could film her. For those of you who don't know, having good lighting is essential for an iPhone video. For me, this meant finding the time to go outside and take a long selfie of myself playing guitar. However, this plan did not work out as the weather made it difficult for me to play guitar outside during the week that I needed to film.

    Luckily, my friend Danny Padgett mention to me that he knew some very talented high schoolers and put together a company called JDProductions. At the very last minute, Emai and Anna from JDProductions were able to film me with much better equipment than an iPhone. We decided to meet in Graffiti Alley near Central Square in Cambridge, MA since the awning would provide protection from the rain and the location would provide an interesting juxtaposition against Isabella's pastoral setting.

    Thankfully, this project proved successful. "Coast to Coast" was selected as one of two videos to be premiered and included in Longy's SeptemberFest celebrations. Perhaps this is the start of more video projects for me.

  • Seven Morsels

    Seven Morsels

    Here is a photo from Kyle Johnson's performance of my Seven Morsels in the Form of a Persimmon.  The piece calls for some staging and lighting effects which help create the atmosphere for the music.  Additionally, Kyle invited the audience to sit closer to the piano and on stage for a more intimate listening experience.  Personally, I believe more recitals should be performed with the audience closer to the performers.  When sitting close to certain instruments and ensembles, the nuanced interplay of sound becomes more apparent.  Audiences may appreciate some pieces better if they are allowed to feel how the sound reverberates on stage and hear how the sound decays within the instrument.  Some members of this audience would disagree with me and felt that being on stage was awkward.  Perhaps the breaking the dichotomy of on stage/off stage violates some notion of acceptable performance practice.  However, in other expressions of music, whether it's bhangra, punk rock, or hip hop, listeners are sometimes welcome to participate on stage along with the performers in one way or another. Why not art music? 

  • Honors Concert

    Honors Concert

    I am happy to announce that my ensemble and I have been selected as winners of this year's Longy Honors competition with my piece Metropolitan Snapshots for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon.  Please join us on Friday May 3, at 8pm in Edward M. Pickman Hall for a concert featuring this year's honorees. Metropolitan Snapshots is currently streaming and available for free download in the Listen section of this website.  

    This year's honorees are:

    Elizabeth Chladil
    Matthew Fontana
    Kyle Johnson
    Alyssa Koogler
    Michael Meehan
    Valerie Osborn
    Paul Sayed
    Yo Shionoya
    Eriko Takagaki


    Performing music by:

    John Adams
    Claude Debussy
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Paul Sayed
    Robert Schumann
    Toru Takemitsu

    Congratulations to all those who were nominated, finalists, and honorees.  I feel very grateful and humbled to be a part of this experience.  

    Photos:

    Announcement instagrammed by Kyle Johnson

    Matthew Fontana - Clarinetist (photo credit: Kelly Davidson)

    Michael Meehan - Bassoonist (photo credit: Kelly Davidson)

    Metropolitan Snapshots Promo Art