A Manifesto? (otherwise known as An Intro to My Creative Practice)

Hello, friends! I hope this finds you well.

I’ve spent much of the past week reflecting on my experiences at the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute and getting back into the daily grind. I had such a great time getting to know everyone at RMBI, but it’s dawned on me that as someone who actively identifies as both a composer and a performer, I don’t talk as coherently about my creative practice as many of my new friends do. To be completely honest, I’m a little envious—from the outside looking in, it seems nice to be able to start by saying “I do this” and then getting more specific instead of explaining that you do two or three or five different things and having to elaborate on each one. I’ve also realized that I haven’t at any point sat down and written out how I describe and view my own work. (Grad school application essays don’t count.)

Generally, I dismiss myself pretty quickly. I tell people that I try to marry traditional technique and tonality with experimental idioms, and that’s true. Making weird things accessible to audiences regardless of their musical background is and always will be a priority. Even still, there’s so much more to my writing and performing than “it sounds a little weird but also sort of normal.” There are facets of my creativity I haven’t talked about very much. So this post has two objectives: to introduce myself a little more thoroughly to my friends (new and old, musicians and non-musicians) and help define for myself how I frame my creative practice. Continue reading “A Manifesto? (otherwise known as An Intro to My Creative Practice)”

Summer Festival Breakdown: the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute

A week has come and gone, and one cancelled flight and many phone calls later, I’m in the air headed home from the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute. RMBI brings together a veritable army of instructors, students, auditionees, performers, and a couple amazing collaborative pianists for a week of brass-related shenanigans. I didn’t want to post too much about my expectations going into the festival, so for the most part I’ve kept quiet online. However, now that I’ve made it out the other side, I thought I’d compile a list of the festival’s greatest hits (and misses) for anyone who’s considering attending next year. As always, these opinions are my own, and I’m always cognizant of the fact that as a musician whose focus is largely on contemporary performance, my experience differs from my peers’. But here are my biggest pros and cons of RMBI 2018: Continue reading “Summer Festival Breakdown: the Rafael Méndez Brass Institute”

A CalArts Year in Review: Part Two

Over the past year, CalArts has allowed me to learn at my own pace while providing countless opportunities I wouldn’t get elsewhere. That said, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Like every school, CalArts has serious downsides it needs to address. I can’t speak as much to programs and events outside the music school, but even within HASOM (the Herb Alpert School of Music), there are significant issues that require more management than students or faculty are capable of providing individually. And sometimes, the administration’s what’s causing the problems. So buckle in, everyone. This one’s long.

♦♦♦

Let’s start with my favorite part of every school: the Title IX office. Continue reading “A CalArts Year in Review: Part Two”

The Finalists are Here! Phantom Announces its Second-Round Composers

No time like the present for a call for scores announcement!

As many of you know, Phantom recently wrapped our second call for scores. This time around, we separated the process into two parts: our initial judging and a finalist round,
in which we look at works from ten to fifteen composers and make our selections. In no particular order, our finalist composers for the Winter Call for Scores are: Continue reading “The Finalists are Here! Phantom Announces its Second-Round Composers”

March Favorites are here!

Like every YouTuber ever, I’ve decided to start a monthly favorites segment. Ultimately, my goal is to highlight music, creatives, and moments I enjoy. If anything catches your attention, don’t keep quiet!

March has been an absolutely insane month. I had the privilege of playing on three recitals (including my own), joining ensembles on various other concerts, clearing a couple commissions off my plate, and preparing for premieres of new works. That said, this is what’s caught my eye and ear: Continue reading “March Favorites are here!”

YOUR MOUSE GOD iS DEAD (and other new works): presenting the program

Hello again, friends and readers! (I know it’s been awhile. Life gets in the way sometimes. I’ll be back on the blog more in the coming months.)

As we round the corner into March, I’m well into my second semester at CalArts, and that means it’s recital time again! In addition to appearing on a slew of other concerts this semester, I’ll be presenting my own recital, YOUR MOUSE GOD iS DEAD, this Saturday, March 3, at 5PM PST in the Wild Beast. Because I’m in the Performer-Composer program, the show will be a mash-up of my own work and efforts from friends and colleagues around the world. The program is as follows: Continue reading “YOUR MOUSE GOD iS DEAD (and other new works): presenting the program”

Here We Go Again: Phantom’s Winter 2018 Call for Scores

Phantom Brass is pleased to announce its winter 2018 call for scores. Formed by John Pisaro, Darren Dvoracek, Megan DeJarnett, and Evan Wendell, Phantom is a brass quartet dedicated to the understanding and expansion of brass chamber music repertoire. We hope to cultivate a diverse collection of works by living composers.

Submissions should be composed within the last five years and written for two trumpets, trombone, and tuba (modified brass quartet) or any subset of these instruments. Trumpets available are B-flat, C, and flugelhorn; trombones available are tenor and alto. Works of multiple movements are welcome, but no work should exceed ten minutes. There is no minimum duration. Limit one submission per composer. Prior winners may not resubmit for one year (fall 2017 winners may submit in fall 2018, etc). We welcome works from all composers regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or nationality.

To submit, please email a PDF of your score and an audio rendering (MIDI mock-up is fine) to phantombrass4@gmail.com no later than March 15, 2018 at 11:59PM Pacific Daylight Time. The subject line should include Winter Call for Scores and your name. In your email, please include your contact information, a brief bio, your website, and a performance history of the piece. Ten to fifteen composers will move on to the final round of adjudication; these finalists will be notified by April 15. We will contact winners no later than May 1. Composers will receive a performance of their work and a recording of the live performance. Additional performances may occur but cannot be guaranteed at this time.

We look forward to hearing your submissions! ♦

Ensemble Talk: Calling for Scores (and Dealing With It)

In the interim between the end of Phantom’s fall call for scores and the beginning of our winter round, I’ve received a few questions about running a call for scores as an ensemble, what exactly it entails, and how we did it. As I’ve been taking point in our hunt for new, fresh-off-the-press-if-we-can-get-it music, I decided to compile a few of the most important parts of the call for scores process into the following post to serve as a preliminary guide for anyone else with a new group who wants some new material. Continue reading “Ensemble Talk: Calling for Scores (and Dealing With It)”

A New Endeavor and a Call for Scores

We’ve wrapped up our first month of classes here at CalArts, and though it’s been a tumultuous month of making friends and getting somewhat turned around and grading counterpoint homework, I’m finally somewhat settled in. Since school started, I’ve found a handful of people I’d take over the world with, and I’m excited to announce a few of us have formed Phantom Brass, a quartet dedicated to the pursuit and performance of new music.

As part of that mission, we’re excited to announce our inaugural call for scores. Continue reading “A New Endeavor and a Call for Scores”