Sometimes good news comes in threes. Since my last post, I’ve travelled to Washington D.C. and New York, heard a choral premiere, and learned some exciting news. First, the news.
In Sweet Music Wins NewWorks Competition!
DaCapo Chamber Choir selected my new choral piece, In Sweet Music, as the winner of their 2015 NewWorks composition competition! DaCapo is based in Kitchener-Waterloo and directed by Leonard Enns. The choir’s focus is on music written in the last 100 years, and especially Canadian music, which is great news for us composers! The results of the competition were decided by a jury of choral conductors from across Canada, who also awarded an honourable mention to Martin Fairbank of Dorval, QC for his piece How Sweet the Moonlight.
In Sweet Music is an SATB setting of some poetry about the legend of Orpheus from Shakespeare’s play Henry VIII. Here’s part of my written description:
The power of music is really hard to talk about. Shakespeare’s Orpheus poem inspired me to think about how music and inspiration affects me and the people I care about. I hope and imagine that music has the power to change our lives by creating vulnerable experiences together. In this way music helps us have empathy for one another, and this piece is kind of an ode to music.
Music director Leonard Enns had this to say:
“It’s a wonderful, challenging and complex piece, and promises to be wholly satisfying for performers and listeners. I know it will be deeply rewarding for the choir and the audience.”
You can read more about the choir, the competition, and the piece on DaCapo’s website. I look forward to hearing the premiere performance of In Sweet Music in Kitchener-Waterloo in March 2016!
Flame and Shadow Premiere in Washington D.C.
My wife Heidi and I recently traveled to the East Coast for a much-needed vacation, but also to hear the Six Degree Singers, a community choir in Washington D.C. Director Rachel Carlson led SDS in the first-ever performance of Flame and Shadow (SATB) on May 30. Flame and Shadow won the choir’s composer’s competition earlier this year. It was so rewarding to visit D.C., hear the music, meet everyone, and see the sights!
Music Moves In Mysterious Ways
Sometimes people ask what it’s like to hear music I’ve written performed live. I’ll usually say that it’s humbling, that it’s inspiring, and that it’s surreal. And all those things are true.
But the performance in D.C. affected me in a different way – I had written Flame and Shadow during a difficult emotional time last summer, and hearing the choir sing the words “alone in the night” at the end of the piece reminded me of some very dark days. But to hear the sound of the voices turned the whole experience on its head – the joy of music brought the pain into a different context, and as cliche as it may sound, it was kind of like darkness becoming light, expressed in safety, in confidence, and in gratitude. It was a powerful experience.
Thank you all for your support, your emails, and for reading. Drop me a line and let me know how your summer’s going! I hope to write some more words and music before too long.