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Week five of sheltering in place and, after an initial surge of productivity, I sometimes feel lost and unable to work in more than fits and starts. I have always worked out of my home office, so that part of my life hasn't changed. And yet, things have changed, and changed in significant ways. I am no longer spending evenings and weekends attending rehearsals and concerts. Scheduled performances and premieres of my work have been postponed. And although I’m finishing a commission, another was postponed indefinitely. On top of all of that, my worry about the world is heavier.

I'm not gonna lie — it's still rough out there in the world and in my office. I'm finding ways to keep busy doing all the things that get put off when we are not in the middle of a global pandemic and radical change in response to racial justice. These are times when singing together could not only be a balm, but it could move us to be better people and stronger communities. But....we can't sing together. And that's tough.

Before I was a composer, I studied physics and computer science. So when I get a chance to combine music, math, and science, I’m all over it. My newest piece, “Silver Deity of Secret Night: A Love Song to the Moon” was commissioned by Cantus and is receiving its world premiere as part of their “One Giant Leap” concert series. This concert celebrates “the allure of upward exploration, the triumph of the human spirit, and striving for excellence through innovation and technology.”

We have all been there. Limiting our options, thinking we can’t do something we want to do because we aren’t able to do it, aren’t good enough to do it, or not worthy enough to even try …. and the list goes on. We get stuck in limiting belief patterns. Recently, I have had the opportunity to explore my own limiting beliefs and to open up to possibilities. I’ve learned to say, “Yes, and…!” 

I'm excited to announce that I’ve been composing a lot recently! That might sound a bit odd to you, I suppose. “Isn’t that your job, to compose?” you would ask me. And I would respond, “Yes, but it’s funny how little time I actually spend composing.” If I was honest, I would add, "And I'm super excited because it's hard to spend that much time composing."

I just finished transcribing the audio recording from my panel discussion at a choral conductors conference in February (many of my readers will know ACDA - American Choral Directors Association) and I AM CHANGED  — AGAIN! 

I have a daily practice, as I’m sure many of you have. It defines and gives purpose to my days. It’s pretty simple: “How do I make the world a better place...today?” I write music that I hope inspires singers and audiences to do good in the world and encourages them to think about the world and themselves in new, transformative ways. I try to treat others with kindness. I attempt to live out my value that our earth is a living planet I respect and that my choices reflect how I care for her.

My commission and upcoming World Premiere of “Whether the Weather” by Amuse Singers in New York will be on February 23 and 26, and March 4. Tickets and more information about their Weather Reports concerts are available here

I’m flying to New York and will be at the March 3 concert if you would like to come say “Hello.” Please let me know if you are coming or find me after the concert.  

I can remember as a child sitting for hours making posters that prominently featured peace signs and doves alongside pleas for world peace. I was full of the hope and innocence that often accompanies childhood. I mean, let's be real, world peace will never happen, right? Then why, as an adult, do I keep writing songs about it? Why, deep in my heart of hearts, do I still believe it could be a reality someday?

          I am very excited to share with you that the culmination of years of writing and meetings and planning — the premiere of “Walking Together” — happened. Like nothing I had ever done before, Walking Together was born of a desire to make the world a better place. My plan was to have neighbor meet neighbor and to get to know each other's stories — stories about immigration, migration, race, and ethnicity. And all these stories were spoken by a diverse group of readers over music I composed.

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