On Wednesday, I’m off to Boise – my first time in Idaho, though I came close in 1970 (but that’s another story). There I will be reunited with one of my most faithful champions, Robert Franz. Robert is Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic and Associate Conductor with the Houston Symphony.
Robert has been involved in probably a dozen premieres and/or commissions of my music over the last 20 years. I owe a good portion of my orchestral repertoire to his encouragement. I’ve seen Robert conduct my music with the Carolina Chamber Symphony and the Louisville Orchestra, but this is the first time I’ll be able to hear him lead the orchestra in Boise.
Here are the pieces of mine I know Robert was involved in premiering/commissioning – there may be others that have slipped my mind:
- Orpheus in the Afterworld (flute concerto)
- Appearance, Flight, Reflection (symphony)
- Snegglish Dances
- Amadeus ex machina
- Wright Flight
- Figments and Fragments
- Cool Night
Not too many composers get that kind of support from a single conductor – about 2.5 hours of music – so I’m extremely grateful for the work he’s done on my behalf. And it’s been about seven years since I’ve seen him, so I’m looking forward to catching up.
My second trip to Salt Lake City earlier this month was just as fascinating as my first in September. I stayed with Barbara and Richard Fox. Richard is a cellist with the Salt Lake Symphony, and an exceptionally gracious host. He gave me a beautifully nuanced history of the region. His grandmother was one of the original pioneers who made the trek across the plains on foot a century-and-a-half ago. Compared to that I was feeling pretty wimpy on our 90-minute hike through the outskirts of the city (30 minutes downhill, 60 minutes back up), especially since Richard is maybe a few years older than I am.
Another highlight of the trip was, of all things, the preconcert talk I gave. Well, not the talk itself, I suppose, but the write-up it got on transabled.org. If you are unfamiliar with the term “transabled,” I’m not going to help you out because the subject matter is complex and controversial. But the response to my words and music from Chloe, a blogger on the site, was fascinating food for thought. Read it here.