I’m in a real groove these days, a time when my ideas and my ability to render them are both peaking. I’ll ride it as long as it lasts. Who knows, next week it could all be used up. I’m juggling five new works, and all five of them are going exceptionally well. It’s a bit of a paradox for me, because I’m super busy with non-composing work right now, especially with guiding my students through a very intense time – this Saturday our school orchestra will premiere five new pieces of theirs:
Michael Anderson: Zombie Wars
Kenneth Florence: West
Ted Oliver: Linville Falls
Zachary Polozune: A Silhouette Slowly Dancing
Bruce Tippette: Unconquered
So we’re working our way through hours of rehearsal, with my colleague James Allbritten at the helm. I’ve known Jamie for close to twenty years, since he was a very young man (come to think of it, my ears were dripping a bit back then, too) and I’ve always admired his attention to detail and his rehearsal skills, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised the last few years by his devotion to young composers, his willingness to devote a substantial chunk of the orchestra’s time to helping them learn how to tame, or at least not get trampled by, the large-ensemble beast.
Most music schools give their composition students brief reading sessions with the orchestra – very few devote entire orchestral concerts to student works (in fact, I don’t know of any besides ours – but I have to assume if we are doing it, someone else is). It’s quite a wave for our composers to ride, and it’s cresting this weekend.