My Neglected Blog

Scores Now Available for Purchase Online

August 11th, 2011|

My self-publishing empire Swirly Music has just launched an online store where certain pieces will be available for purchase.  At the moment only my clarinet/piano piece American Standard and a short choral work are available.  I will be adding my other choral pieces and my string quartet as soon as I can. […]

Sibelius Trick: Use Your iPhone as a Number Pad for Your Laptop

July 8th, 2011|

I’m sure I’m not alone among Sibelius users in relying very heavily on the number pad for quick music notation.  It is of course much quicker than pointing and clicking on that little tool box.  So, at such times when I’m using my MacBook away from the […]

Video: American Standard at Old First

May 29th, 2011|

Filmmaker Mark Altenberg did a lovely video interpretation of my clarinet/piano piece American Standard that was displayed live during a recent performance at Old First Concerts in San Francisco. Using footage taken of clarinetist Karla Avila and pianist Regina Schaffer in rehearsal, the video […]

City Walks at SFO “You Are Hear” Festival

June 25th, 2010|

Some composer friends and I have been kicking around the idea of getting our music played in unconventional venues. The idea is that if music is only played in concert halls, then the audience is limited to people who take time out of their busy schedules to seek it out, to say nothing of willingness to spend money on tickets. Surely we can find new ways of bringing new music to audiences that don’t require them to be so proactive. […]

Project Encore: Choral Works Awaiting Second Performances

March 16th, 2010|

Last year the New York chorus Schola Cantorum on Hudson initiated their Project Encore initiative, an effort to promote second performances of choral works that have received premiere performances and nothing since.  It is a great and much needed idea: a juried central repository complete with instrumentation, text, program notes and even audio excerpts that choral decision makers can resort to for new works to consider. […]

  • Composer Joseph Castaldo
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    Joseph Castaldo’s “Ancient Liturgy” Revisited in Philadelphia

Joseph Castaldo’s “Ancient Liturgy” Revisited in Philadelphia

March 5th, 2010|

This month the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, my choral alma mater, will present a concert that epitomizes the kind of music making that went on in Philadelphia when I was a student there in the 1980′s. The occasion is the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Joseph Castaldo’s extraordinary work for narrator, chorus and orchestra Ancient Liturgy, which was originally commissioned and premiered by the Music Group of Philadelphia under Seán Deibler, who also happened to be Choral Arts’ founding Artistic Director. […]

What Is Musicianship?

December 4th, 2009|

I wonder if, bogged down in the details of teaching those various skills, we've lost track of what musicianship really is.

Berlin, 1989.

November 9th, 2009|

Long story as to how and why, but within a few days of the Berlin Wall opening on November 9th, 1989, I was on an overnight train from Budapest to Berlin to check out the scene.  Then I was removed from the train in the middle of the night at the Hungarian/(then) Czechoslovak border.  The Velvet Revolution in Prague wasn’t scheduled to happen for another week, and I found out they were actually still serious about the whole “transit visa” thing.  So I hung out with the border guards until the next train came through on the way back to Budapest. […]

John Adams Now Blogs

October 30th, 2009|

John Adams’ newly remodeled web site now includes a blog.  Am I the last person to realize this?

Posting has been consistent for the past week or so.  The name “Hell Mouth” promises a lot.  I hope he’ll have time to stick with it.  Interestingly, he has enabled comments. […]

More Fascinating Folk Music: Sutartinės of Lithuania

October 20th, 2009|

Well, now I have Lithuania to add to the list of countries whose folk music to be obsessed with. In a discussion with my teaching colleague Arkadi Serper about what folk music traditions might have influenced Stravinsky’s ear in his youth, I brought up the amazing vocal music of the Caucasus region, particularly Georgian table songs.  Arkadi agreed, and then went on to alert me to several others from within Russia and the former Soviet Union, including Lithuanian sutartinės. […]