I have admired Maria Sampen's artistry and advocacy of new music for more than twenty years, so I am just over the moon that she will be performing my Partita for Solo Violin in its entirety this Friday, October 2nd, at 7:30pm as a part of her online faculty concert at the University of Puget Sound. Maria is a wonderful musician and a delightful human being, so I hope you can join us online!
My friend Lucy Dhgrae created a digital concert from New York City which includes my setting of Emma Lazurus's poem "The New Colossus." This poem, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States. Lucy has put together an eclectic program of new work that is like her: brave and musical and true. Show her love!
I'm so pleased that violinist Sarah Jane Kenner has chosen to perform excerpts of my solo violin partita on this wonderful online concert from Ars Musica Chicago. Attendance is free, donations are welcome. I'm looking forward to hearing my work on *Baroque Violin.* The program also includes works by Telemann and Lully. A link to more information is here. Please join us!
I am still buzzing with gratitude from a recent performance of my six-minute flute soliloquy, Falling Skyward, by the wonderfully talented and ever-resourceful principal flutist of the Wichita Symphony, Carmen Lemoine. She, along with WSO concertmaster Holly Mulcahy, produced an inspiring online concert of new works that featured music by living composers. I was really happy to have my music included with the likes of Jonathan McNair and Marco Granados.
To me, the concert was what it might have been like to experience a 19th-century salon: it was informal and warm as the composers and musicians took questions from the other Zoom call participants. My thanks to all involved for keeping new music alive in the time of Covid. These are the sorts of efforts that ensure we can and will defeat the worst this pandemic has to offer. Even in the midst of challenging times, we can still meet together, make music together, adapt, and thrive.
My thanks to my colleague and friend Nicholle Andrews, music director and conductor of the intrepid Phoenix Chamber Choir, for inviting me into conversation with some really wonderful and brave musical artists and diversity stewards. Our discussion was wide-ranging and expansive, and yet always driven by a sense of mission. One thing we know for certain is that aspiring to musical justice is generational work. Endeavoring to make our musical choirs reflect the diversity, breadth, and depth of society is not one person’s job; it is not the job of one community, city, or country. It is the job of all of us. I’m really humbled to have been a part of this exchange. I was nervous (and it shows, at least to me), but it’s really important that we each find ways of putting ourselves out there, testing our discomfort, and try to be a part of solutions. Whether it’s racial injustice, climate crises, or the plight of refugees around the world, Making Music in the Mess has encouraged me to look for ways of asking more challenging questions of myself and my community. Hopefully, conversations like this might encourage you to know that, in the beautiful struggle to affect positive change in your community, you are not alone.
A link to our conversation is here.
Looking forward to discussing diversity in Canadian choral music with this brilliant panel of forward-thinking artists! Hope to see some of you there!
Making Music in the Mess:
A conversation towards a greater understanding of African Diasporic voices in Canadian choral music.
Monday, July 6th, 2020
1:00pm PST / 4:00pm EST
Studies in Hope on WMHT radio
Happy to be a part of the Juneteenth celebrations for WMHT. If ever you wanted to take a listen to the complete piece, now’s your chance! Tune in if you can!￼
His friends described George Floyd as a gentle giant, as a spiritual man.
We are losing so many to pandemics of illness, violence, and rage.
Many of you are struggling with what to do next in the face of racialized injustice. I certainly don’t have any answers. I’ve spent a lot of my life under the radar, trying not to draw the attention of lethal force, so I don’t feel like the best person to speak with authority on how to bring about change and social justice. I literally have just tried to stay alive.
But here’s what I’m thinking about now. Begin anywhere. Every morning I remind myself that I’m not dead. I literally speak those words out loud, “I’m not dead.“ I do this to speak into the world the truth that poet Lucille Clifton put in a poem: that every day something has tried to kill me and failed. I struggle with you. So maybe it’s time for me to start working past not being dead and start working towards being alive.
I would add to the insight below from poet Gregory Orr: turn your words back into the world. Repeat the cycle. Create an alternating current that powers your desire for social justice. Words matter. Words help me live into the world with more courage. Words power change. And change powers words. And that alternating current creates electricity that powers our desire for social justice.
So talk with your friends; talk with your neighbors; speak with your community leaders. If you’re white, listen and bear witness. If you’re black, don’t be afraid to make your opinion, heart, and mind known. Speak out from the shadows. Let’s strive not for equality but for justice. The difference is subtle but important. Because in America we’re not the same. But to live well together, everyone has to belong. ✊🏽 🌈
My first radio interview. I'm filled to the brim with gratitude for the extraordinary musicians and staff of the Albany Symphony, and its director David Alan Miller; the Albany High School Chamber Choir, and its director Brendan Hoffman; student rappers Mohamed & Esmeralda; and soprano soloists Paule Aboite & Chelsea Fingal DeSouza. Their tremendous work on "Studies in Hope: Frederick Douglass" this December was a massive undertaking, but always a labor of love. Such a joy to celebrate with each of you! From my heart to yours, *thank you*!
2019 has been a wonderful year, and new adventures await in 2020! Wishing all of you a joyous New Year!!
"Wear your mask & practice social distancing. Together, we can defeat Covid 19!"
"Literacy in Music & Arts is one of your vital links to global citizenship!"
"Be sure to support the arts in *your* community!"