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.
I am extremely honored to announce two world premieres this weekend!
"Although the Wind," with text by Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield
Commissioned by the Bowling Green State University Women's Chorus, Sandra Stegman, director
University Women's Chorus Concert, Sunday, April 17, 3:00 PM, Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
"O My Friends What Can You Tell Me Of Love," with text by Mirabai, translated by Jane Hirshfield
I have been thinking a lot about endings recently as I finish two choral commissions within two weeks of each other (I know, I'm crazy).
But seriously, how does one know when a piece is finished? For me, at it’s core, composing is about listening, about tuning in to what a piece needs and where it wants to go. Of course it makes sense that listening is important throughout a piece. But it is imperative at the end, because, well... let's just say, it’s good to know when to stop.
It was Wednesday morning and I was composing a piece about peace and harmony. I was behind schedule and it was due Friday. Even so, I couldn’t concentrate. Jamar Clark was on my mind. Just days before, this young black man was shot by police. Black Lives Matter protesters had been occupying the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis since Sunday. Ferguson was my backyard.
Fly With Me for SSA choir and piano will be premiered at the Treble Choir Festival by Champlin Park High School’s Treble Choir which is directed by Margaret Sabin. Thank you Margaret and the women of the Champlin Park Treble choir!
I am excited to announce that I was awarded a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Community Arts Grant (MRAC) for my project Walking Together. The concert, which will explore the topics of migration, immigration and ethnicity, will take place in the Mahtomedi, Minnesota community in the spring 2016. Readers from the local area will join musicians Margaret Humphrey (violin), Rebecca Arons (cello), and Peter O’Gorman (percussion) for an evening of original music. Attendees are welcome to bring an ethnic dish to share following the performance.