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Libby Larsen: “Your ideal piece”

I can’t say how much I enjoyed deep composer-ly discussion with other five other composers and Libby Larsen over dinner last night.

Libby posed perhaps the most provocative (in a good way) question I had heard in a long time:
“What is your ideal piece?”

Meaning what piece is there, latent in your brain, unexpressed and symbolizing the epitome of your artistic achievement?

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At Chorus America / ChoralConnections 2012

Choral Connections logo
I enjoyed attending the Chorus America conference and ACF adjunct conference called ChoralConnections.

Particular highlights:

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Listening: Beethoven piano sonatas

Lately I’ve been listening to the Beethoven piano sonatas. While many of them (the early ones especially) are perfectly pleasant, there are several that are truly transcendent and are powerful these many generations later.

Why is that?  Why do some pieces resonate over time while others are merely nice to listen to? Perhaps these transcendent pieces need to evoke one of:

  • Drama
  • Beauty
  • Fun

Beethoven’s pieces nearly always work between beauty and drama, with an extra side of drama.

Here is Pollini playing the finale of the Appasionata (#23 in F minor).

What do you think? What makes transcendent music?

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A couple days of inspiration

The Minnesota Orchestra along with the American Composers Forum put on a Composers Institute each year.

This is an incredible program where seven composers are selected from a pool of applicants to have their works premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra in an all-new-music concert.

During the week leading up to the concert, the composers have intensive sections with performers in the orchestra as well as industry pros to learn the business.

I was fortunate enough to audit a few of the sessions this year, a free opportunity for members of the American Composers Forum.

In particular, I learned quite a bit about copyright registrations, performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC), writing for percussion, conductors’ preferences, and marketing yourself as a composer.

The sum total of this has inspired me to beef up this website and flesh out my catalog.

Stay tuned for coming attractions!

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