One of my projects this past year has been the preparation of a Powerpoint lecture series on American music for the American Embassy in Latvia. I prepared 5 90-minute presentations, on Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock and Hip Hop. I have now been invited by the American Embassy in Lithuania to give the lectures there. I will lecture in Kaunas on May 5 (Lithuanian Music & Theater Academy); in Vilnius on May 6 (Lithuanian Music & Theater Academy); in KlaipÄ—da on May 11 (Klaipeda University); and in Å iauliai on May 13 (Å iauliai University).

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3encontro1.jpgPianist Ana Cervantes, as invited guest of the III Congress of Musicology of the University São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto will participate in roundtable discussions and give a solo recital of music from Rumor de Páramo / Murmurs from the Wasteland, an international commissioning project that pays homage to landmark Mexican writer and photographer Juan Rulfo (1917-1986) in which Cervantes asked composers – from México, Spain, the USA, Great Britain and Brazil- for a solo piano piece inspired in Rulfo’s work.

The concert on Friday, March 6 will include my contribution to the project, Murmuring in Comala, as well as works by Silvia Berg, Joaquín Gutiérrez Heras, Georgina Derbez, Arturo Márquez, Federico Ibarra, Anne LeBaron, Horacio Uribe, Mario LaVista, Jack Fortner, Tomás Marco and Stephen McNeff.

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Soprano Kathryn Wieckhorst, accompanied by pianist Jeff Tanski will include my setting of Emily Dickinson’s Heart! We Will Forget Him! on her recital at the Gershwin Hotel (27th street between Madison and 5th) on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 8pm. Tickets are $10 at the door, cash only.

The program, The Varied Natures of Love, will feature American opera excerpts and the works of contemporary American composers. It will include works by Lori Laitman, Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Lehrman, Gian Carlo Menotti, Carlisle Floyd, Kurt Weill.

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Women’s chorus perfects each note
Choral Artists present powerfully varied concert

By Tom Strini of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 15, 2009

Sharon Hansen had an opinion about every last note at Saturday’s Milwaukee Choral Artists concert. The micro-managing conductor conveyed her opinions in clear, amazingly detailed gestures. They got instant, satisfying results from her 17 female singers.

It made no difference that Hansen, recovering from foot surgery, conducted from a wheelchair. The concentration and commitment on both sides was palpable in the cozy nave of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa. Watching them interact is almost as great a pleasure as hearing the remarkable music they make.


Their singing was intelligent and beautiful without fail throughout an engaging and varied program. Arrangements of two Debussy songs gave them a chance to do what they do best of all, which is tune and balance complex chords so finely that the harmonies glow like a sonic aurora borealis. Vaughan Williams’ “In Windsor Forest,” a substantial suite drawn from Shakespeare, showcased Hansen’s firm grasp of larger forms. “Old Devil Moon” and “That Old Black Magic” (smartly arranged by Choral Artist Paula Foley Tillen) showed that swing comes as naturally as anything to the MCA.

Music for a small women’s choir is little-known country for most of us, so MCA concerts also afford the pleasure of discovery. This time, the revelations were Alice Parker’s delicate, filigreed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Fairy Songs”; Eric Whitacre’s “She Weeps Over Rahoon,” a sensual setting of James Joyce, in which slithery vocal and English horn (nice work by Karli Larsen) lines overlap like serpents in love; and, most of all, Charles Griffin’s “El Paso de la Siguiriya,” on a dark, dreamy Federico Garcia Lorca poem.

“El Paso” is a flamenco a cappella fantasy with episodes of rhythmic clapping, melisma inflected in the Andalusian way and choruses in Spanish dance rhythms. Mezzo Rebecca Davies was ravishing in the solo that is the soul of this piece. She must have listened to a great deal of flamenco singing to prepare; she was at once elegant and earthy.

Much of the choral work in “El Paso” is in free rhythm. Hansen shaped it with a soloist’s latitude. Seventeen voices responded, and the choir became a single voice.

E-mail Tom Strini at

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GastesiBezerraDuo The Piano Duo Gastesi-Bezerra will perform the entirety of my suite of pieces for piano four-hands From the Faraway Nearby, inspired by paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 15 at 3PM. The Duo will feature an all-American program in conjunction with the exhibit “Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities.”

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The Milwaukee Choral Artists
, directed by Sharon Hansen, will perform my El Paso de la Seguiriya, a flamenco-inflected setting for women’s voices of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, as part of a program called Magic and Enchantment, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (1615 Wauwatosa Avenue) in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on February 14 at 7:30PM. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Conductor James Allen Anderson, director of Orchestral Activities at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina will give a brief lecture presentation on my Concerto for Chamber Orchestra (Weaving Olden Dances) at the Conductors Guild Annual Conference for Conductors at the Park Central New York Hotel.

Anderson, along with Barry Hoffman of the Westchester Chamber Orchestra (NY), John Gordon Ross of the Western Piedmont Symphony (NC) and Barbara Day Turner of the San José Chamber Orchestra (CA) are all co-commissioners of the piece.

The piece was premiered last May by the Westchester Chamber Orchestra at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY.

Here are five excerpts from the four movements taken from a live recording of the premiere: concertoexcerptscg.mp3

To view/download a PDF of the score that matches the recorded excerpt, click here.

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The Freeport High School Select Chorale, directed by Stephen Pagano, will perform my SATB divisi setting of Emily Brontë’s Fall, Leaves, Fall on their winter concert on December 18 at 7:30 PM at Freeport High School in Freeport, NY (50 S Brookside Ave.). It is a great pleasure and honor for me that Steve (who is retiring this year) is including my work on this concert. I was a member of this group when I was 16-18, and Steve played a big role in my decision to pursue music as a career. Congratulations on your retirement, and a heartfelt thanks.

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saar-ho duo

The piano duo Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia will perform selected movements from my suite From the Faraway Nearby for piano four-hands as part of their December 11 program called Sounds of New York. This concert, sponsored by Queens Council on the Arts will take place at Lefrak Hall at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College CUNY (65-30 Kissena Blvd. in Flushing, NY). Click here for directions. This free concert begins at 7:30 PM and will include a complimentary wine reception.

The program will include Denise Broadhurst’s Stepping off the front porch…, Matt Van Brink’s Initial Ascent (World premiere), selections from Jay Anthony Gach’s Rounds, Philippe Bodin’s Double Salt Variations and Richard Rodney Bennett’s Lilliburlero Variations. This performance is dedicated to the memory of Denise Broadhurst.

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Italian flutist Andrea Ceccomori will perform my Fragmentary Rondo for unaccompanied solo flute at the University of Kentucky New Music Festival in the Singletary Center for the Arts – Recital Hall on Friday, November 14, at 7:30 PM. This concert is free and open to the public. This concert will also feature works by: Berio, Scelsi, Maderna, Ceccomori, Hollos, Rudow, Alon, Dorff, Coluccino, and Campogrande.

Andrea Ceccomori earned a degree in flute performance at the Morlacchi Music Conservatory in Perugia, Italy. He has appeared at national and international festivals such as Spazio Musica, Cagliari, Italy; Nuova Consonanza and Musica Verticale, Rome, Italy; and Biennale of Contemporary Music, Zagreb, Croatia. Other appearances include Darmstadt; Paris; Stockholm; Prague; Sophia; the Logos Foundation, Gent, Belgium; the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland; Concert for Peace, Vatican City; as well as tours of Germany, Spain, Africa and Brazil. In the United States Mr. Ceccomori has appeared as guest performer at universities in New York, Connecticut, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, and Mississippi. In addition to performing classical music, Mr. Ceccomori is a great supporter of contemporary music.

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