Eric Whitacre stopped by nine days ago to tell us about his wind ensemble piece Noisy Wheels of Joy.

Have I mentioned how crazy things have been around here the last few weeks?  I’ve tried to, but I’ve only been able to skim the surface, leaving out important details like the one in the previous paragraph.

It’s all given me less time than I would wish to process the practical and emotional challenges surrounding my mother’s death.  I take comfort in knowing that I have the rest of my life to give that the attention it deserves, and knowing that I had her blessing to live every day of my life to the fullest.

Back to Whitacre – our April 4th Wind Ensemble concert featured his piece along with Joel Puckett’s The Shadow of Sirius and Ryan George’s Firefly.  And those were just the newest pieces.  It was a tremendous program.  And it was great for our students to meet Whitacre, who has carved out a spectacular career from enormous talent and unfettered common sense.

The following day our orchestra premiered four student works, playing each one twice.  In between the performances, the composers went up on stage to talk about their music, so we were able to listen once without preconceptions, then a second time armed with insights.

On Friday our Composition Department visited the American Moderns exhibit on loan from the Brooklyn Museum.  Phil Archer was our capable host, talking us through the challenges and solutions the 1910-1960 generation faced and formulated.  I have been steeped, lately, in some of the writings on postmodernism Jonathan Kramer left unfinished when he died, so it was bracing for me to visit this exhibit.  More on some of my thoughts on these and related topics later.

But first we have a performance of Electric Counterpoint coming up in two days, as well as new and newish works by Dusan Bogdanovich, Carlo Domeniconi and William Kanengiser.

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