Joseph Castaldo’s "Ancient Liturgy" Revisited in Philadelphia

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.Read this post

Categories: Choral Music, TeachersTags: , , , , , ,

Seán Deibler, 1947-2009

My college teacher, mentor and great friend ever since then, Seán Deibler passed away on August 19th. Most of what is important enough to me to write about on this blog can, in one way or another, be traced back to my 24-year association with him. He was a conductor, a singer, a clarinetist, a composer, a teacher, a motivational speaker, a clown, a therapist… The list goes on, and what’s really exceptional is that he was phenomenal at all of the above.Read this post

Categories: Reminiscences, TeachersTags: , , , , ,

Conrad Susa on "The Blue Hour"

I’m thrilled to have just stumbled across this picture montage and interview excerpt of my former S.F. Conservatory composition teacher Conrad Susa discussing his beautiful orchestral work The Blue Hour. It was prepared by music journalist and long-time Conservatory faculty member Scott Foglesong for this article about a concert of music by Conrad and another beloved former teacher Elinor Armer that took place last year.Read this post

Categories: Teachers, VideoTags: , , ,

Music by Joseph Castaldo: String Quartet 1978

My first (and only) composition teacher at the University of the Arts, where I received my bachelor’s degree in the ’80s, was Joseph Castaldo, whose music is shockingly unknown today.   If you do a Google search on “Joseph Castaldo composer“, you’ll find an inexplicable number of resulting pages having to do with his birthday (today!), but very little about his music other than a couple of obscure recordings and references by former students such as myself.Read this post

Categories: TeachersTags: , , , , ,

Dusting Off My Kodály

My latent, inner musicianship nerd has resurfaced lately. I am lucky to have had a very high level of musicianship training, largely based on the Kodály Method, which actually is more of a philosophy than a method. It’s mostly associated with the teaching of small children, but I encountered it first as a college freshman. I’ve been trying to rebuild my memories of how I was taught, and how I might use similar techniques as a teacher.Read this post

Categories: Hungarian, Teachers, TeachingTags: , , , ,