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Boy does it feel good to turn in commissions! Early this morning (at 1:43 am, to be exact), I sent off the score and parts to a new work for string orchestra, commissioned by Prelude Strings (Garden Grove, CA.) The piece celebrates that orchestra program's 25th Anniversary, and I was asked to write a piece about mining silver, starting with the dull material "in the rough" and then refining it to a gleaming final product, as imagery describing the rehearsal process that leads to a polished final concert. To further "pesonalize" the piece, some of the Prelude Strings sent me musical ideas that I then incorporated into the piece - their offerings included videos, general requests (say, for a good tune for the violas!), and some notated examples. I used aspects of the ideas, putting them through my own musical "filter" so it would still sound like my own musical language, but I'm happy to say that I was able to incorporate every student's idea. The piece has not been titled yet - the students will make suggestions, and then I and the directors will make the final decision. The premiere will be May 11th at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, and they're flying me out to conduct it. On that same day, my movement of the Vonnegut Requieum will have its premiere by Voces Novae in Bloomington, IN. Since I haven't managed to clone myself, I'll have to miss that one. Forunately, there will be a repeat performance the next day, and my plan is to hop on a plane shortly after the CA premiere so I can get to the Bloomington, IN performance of the Requiem the next day.

Now that the string orchestra piece is finished, I need to get back to the brass sextet I've been commissioned to write for the International Women's Brass Conference (IWBC), to be premiered at their 2019 conference at Arizona State University. They let me choose the chamber ensemble, and, since I've already written five pieces for brass quintet, I wanted to try something different. Since I haven't written as much for horn as for the other brass instruments, I decided to score the piece for standard brass quintet with an extra horn. I'm basing each movement on a piece of art from the Haubrig Collection, which was a group of paintings and sculptures deemed "degenerate" by the Nazis and then collected by a German lawyer and art collector by the name of Josef Haubrig. I happened on the exhibit while visiting the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany last summer.

I recently finished a movement of a requiem commissioned by Voces Novae, an innovative choral group in Bloomington, Indiana. The text is fascinating: an unpublished requiem text by none other than Kurt Vonnegut! My movement is scored for SATB chorus, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, violin, and double bass. What's most interesting about this project (besides the text!) is that eight composers were each commissioned to write one movement. The premiere, in Spring of 2019, will be interesting indeed!

In November I had two guest conducting appearances, at the Indiana North All-Region Orchestra in Goshen, IN, and the next week at the OMEA All-Region Orchestra in Reynoldsburg, OH. I do love conducting and find it a rewarding, and challenging, contrast to my work as a composer. And sometimes I combine the two - here's some video from the Ohio performance I conducted of Wild Ride on a Broomstick from my suite THREE PORTRAITS OF A WITCH.

Just this week I got a new commission that I'm quite excited about: a work for solo violin, professional-level. I am looking forward to finally writing a piece for exactly my instrument, the violin. I was commissioned by Megan Healy, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder for her doctoral project on the violinist Maud Powell.

Upcoming commissions:

- brass sextet for the 2019 International Women's Brass Conference (Tempe, AZ)
- work for solo violin, Megan Healy (Boulder, CO)

Upcoming conducting engagements:

- Prelude Strings (Garden Grove, CA)