Monday, November 3, 2008
Together with Janetta Stringfellow, the director of development for the school, we decided to ask my friend, poet and journalist Ethan Forman (class of '84) to collaborate with me. My first impulse and thought for the piece was to compose something very joyful and celebratory, like a fanfare.
I had not composed a piece for chorus since my senior year of high school. I was both excited and a little scared that I might not be able to pull it off. To make the process even more difficult, I wanted to compose a joyous and celebratory piece as I said, but Ethan kept writing poetry that was far more reflectively joyful than exuberantly celebratory. I also spent a lot of energy worrying about the complexity of the music, the intellectual rigor of it. The bottom line is, I kept getting in my own way. For me, this is consistently the biggest hurdle in the creative process.
I finally gave in to the reflective nature of Ethan's poetry in August, one month before the finished piece was to be delivered to David Hodgkins, Commonwealth's music director, so rehearsals could begin. Once I let go, I was able to complete the piece quickly. I composed what I thought was a beautiful melody for the soloists to share and supported it with a flowing, tidal accompaniment sung by the chorus. The whole thing worked out pretty well I think. I was actually relieved that the accompaniment did indeed serve as a good support for the melody. It might have obscured the melody since it is a bit busy.
The finished composition was premiered Saturday October 25, 2008 in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts in front of a crowd of 750 alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff of Commonwealth School. What an amazing feeling it was to hear all those voices singing the music I had struggled to create. It was such a beautiful and moving event and I am honored to have played a part in it.
Thank you Charles Merrill for your creation.
Thank you Janetta Stringfellow for asking.
Thank you Ethan Forman for your poetry.
Thank you to all of the Commonwealth School family who make it such an inspiring place to grow.
Commonwealth School Gala, pt. 2-The Mermaid from Commonwealth School on Vimeo.
And here is the text:
Remember the mermaid who swam in from overseasBorn from a city's resistance
She taught you how to wag that tail of yoursAnd wave a sword of victoryShe beat her sword into ploughsharesAnd hung her long locks on hooksDespite her tail she dragged her books upstairsNo Pyrrhic victories here
She was just a girl who learned to walk by taking the subway Back and forth to schoolLearning for her was like the tidesSomething she'd come back to again and again...
Remember the mermaid who swam in from overseasBorn from a city's resistance
Now each fall a new crop of mermaids comeEager for sword and ploughshare lessonsSearching for meaning in strugglePreparing for a life of actionMermaid don't dwell too longOn all those crushes and first kissesDon't wait too longTo celebrate and sing about your memories
She was just a girl who learned to walk by taking the subway Back and forth to schoolLearning for her was like the tidesSomething she'd come back to again and again and again...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Alas, I did not get the job, but I am very pleased with my creation and would like to share.
Please visit my listen page to listen. The piece is called... Sex Therapy!
Monday, June 16, 2008
My latest piece of music, a composition for the modern dance company Murray Spalding Movement Arts premiered at St. Mark's Church in NYC last Thursday.
The theater was full and very, very hot. It was like a sauna. Despite the heat, the dancers did an amazing job. I am glad that I could stand in the back and watch as I certainly would have passed out from the heat if I had been dancing for 60 minutes without a break.
Bravo dancers! And thank you!
Each time I see these pieces in performance I am reminded just how energizing and calming they are to watch and listen to. I am quite proud of this work. Please listen to part of the newest mandala on my website.
Over the three days that the show was running the seats were all filled and many expressed interest in the music and a few even put there money down and purchased a copy of my CD Movement Mandala Music which contains music to the first 8 of the meditative Movement Mandala dances.
Here are a few photos from my journey.
Monday, June 2, 2008
MANDALAS: PAST AND PRESENT
Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, NYC
Thursday June 12 through Saturday June 14
Reservations: 212.674.8194 or http://www.danspaceproject.org
of the 2005 Season, Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times said:
"...The variations build so slowly and the patterns sprawl, shift and spread so smoothly that the changes are never startling. The eye is drawn in and mesmerized.
How the women managed to keep to their paths and timing was unfathomable, but no effort was evident in their radiant performing. "
for more information about the company and the work please go to: http://www.murrayspalding.org
MANDALAS: PAST AND PRESENT company:
Shinyun Chou, Lauren Engleman, Ula Gadea, Naomi Luppescu, Kely Narcum, Leslie Roybal and Guest Artist Jeramy Zimmerman
Choreography: Murray Spalding
Assistant Director: Amy Filbin
Managing Director: Leslie Roybal
Composer: Evren Celimli
Costume Design: Susan Soetaert
Light Design: Kathy Kaufman
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The documentary film Beyond Belief features my original soundtrack music. It received awards at a few festivals. Most recently it received the Best Documentary award at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival.
Although I was not able to make it out to California for the ceremony the director of the film, Beth Murphy, was there and posted about it on the Principle Pictures blog.
I am so excited that this wonderful film continues to do well on the festival circuit.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The film Beyond Belief is screening at the United Nations in New York on Monday, March 24 2008. To think that this humble yet uplifting film will be seen by the leaders of foreign lands is very exciting to me. Perhaps the next step will be for screenings to take place in a large scale in other countries.
I believe Beyond Belief is a film that can help begin to rebuild the standing of the U.S. throughout the rest of the world. Beyond Belief displays courage, generosity and a global perspective embraced by two regular citizens who reach out to help others.
The U.S. needs this kind of positive image to help redeem us in the eyes of the world.
Please support this film. Rent it from Netflix. Find it at a film festival near you. Blog about it.
Thanks for listening.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Today I received exciting news from director Michele Meek.
Her short film Red Sneakers, which I composed the music for, will be screened at the Rhode Island Film Festival this summer.
Here's a little taste of the MUSIC from the score if you're interested.
I composed this piece back in December of 2007. I imagined children skipping and playing on a gentle spring day to inspire the flow and melody of the music.
I am looking forward to Spring here in New England.
Thanks for listening!
Monday, March 17, 2008
And then head over to CDBaby.com and purchase the soundtrack album on CD or download it.
Did you know that the downloads from CDBaby are DRM free?
Support independent music by making your purchases from CDBaby.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Mike Rivard's wonderful band Club d'Elf is celebrating a 10 year residency at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA. Tonight they are joined by John Medeski one of the warmest and most exciting keyboard players you will ever hear. The Lizard Lounge is an amazing location to listen to both Club d'Elf and Medeski as it is a very intimate venue. There aren't many clubs where you can stand right next to a musician like Medeski while he is playing. if you dared to, you could reach out and give him a pat on the back in appreciation. He does get pretty sweaty though, so I suggest a little self control.