News

As crazy a time as this has been, I am lucky enough to be able to continue doing what I do as a composer, which is largely driven by my reactions to the world around me, and, in this case, responding to the unique new-found needs of players, educators, and audiences during a time of isolation. Since teaching has to happen remotely now, I've been invited by a few educators to visit their Zoom classes to talk about being a composer. One of my main motivations for doing this is to show that women are composers, too -- that had never occurred to me, back when I was a high school student, since I'd never so much as heard of a woman composer, and the only reason I got a start at trying it myself was that a music teacher put me in his composition class. Many performers have been plunged into virtual solitary confinement, and thus I've seen a greater interest in my solo works. To that end, I have found myself sending out some of my solo pieces to various performers. I also transcribed my solo trumpet piece, Fantasia, for oboe. Incidentally, that piece I make available for free, so if anyone wants a copy, just ask!

Tubist Alan Baer asked me to adapt my trombone piece Two Latin Dances for tuba and send him a midi file of the accompaniment that he could import into SmartMusic, and I was surprised that the piano part actually sounded reasonable that way. And I now have another version of that piece, for tuba. Theodore Presser has agreed to publish this new version.

Alan's suggestion about the accompaniment inspired me to look at other pieces of mine with piano accompaniments that could translate well into an electronic playback file (particularly ones without big tempo changes), and I ended up making midi-minus-one versions of the original trombone version of Two Latin Dances as well as my flute piece Spring Song.

The big project I'm planning, which couldn't be more impractical during this time (but I'm going to do it anyway!) is an opera. Last summer I discovered the story of Anton Schmid, an Austrian drafted into working for the Wehrmacht during World War II, who conducted undercover operations to save hundreds of Jews of the Vilna ghetto in Lithuania. I find his story, and the times and setting, fascinating. I believe this story needs to be told. I have my concept, a librettist, and some experience writing opera and connections to that world, and the rest of the story ... has yet to unfold.

Current commissions:

- song cycle(other details are a secret, since the commissions is a surprise gift)
- a woodwind version of my Patsh Tantz and Tropanka for the Portland Youth Philharmonic
- Grade 1.5 - 2 band piece for a sight-reading competition in Virginia

Upcoming conducting engagements:

- Fayetteville County High School (Fayetteville, GA)