Two Upcoming Premieres

Two Upcoming Premieres

I am very excited about two new pieces that will be premiered in February and March, 2018.

The first is "Ultra," a three-movement, grade 4 work that will be premiered by the Arkansas Intercollegiate Band, conducted by Rob Carochan on February 15th. The piece was commissioned by the Arkansas Chapter of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA). You can see a little preview of me playing music from the second movement here.

A Great Weekend at TMEA

This past weekend I was in Memphis, TN for the 2014 Tennessee All-State conference. I had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful students and teachers from Tennessee, as well as conductors of the all-state ensembles.  The 11-12 (junior/senior) all-state band was premiering a new piece of mine titled "Journeys."  The band was conducted by renown conductor Dr. John Lynch, who really brought the new piece to life along with a band of really strong young musicians.  The students gave a fantastic performance in the Cannon Center on Saturday and it was an honor to be there with them! The day before, Friday, I gave a presentation at the conference titled "Working With Composers: Creative Ideas for Collaboration & Synergy."  I had a nice group of participants who were teachers and students in TN, and we had a great time talking about ideas for interacting with composers.  Also on Friday, the Ooltewah High School band performed "Goodnight, Goodnight" as part of their concert at TMEA.  I had the opportunity to visit with them and tell them the story behind the piece.  It was a lot of fun! Thanks to Joel Denton, Director of the Ooltewah band, and Rick Murphy who guest conducted the piece.

Thanks to everyone at TMEA who made my trip possible, and who made the all-state conference a wonderful experience for all! Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

"Filled With His Voice" Premieres Tomorrow at Bethel College!

My newest work for choir, Filled with His Voice, premieres tomorrow at Bethel College in Newton, Kansas! The work, scored for SATB choir, alto saxophone, and piano was commissioned by Dr. William Eash and the Bethel College Choir.   You can read the beautiful text I worked with here.  Thank you to Dr. Eash for helping to bring this work to life, and best wishes to him and the choir for a great performance tomorrow!

"This Song of Mine" Premieres Tonight at Houghton College!

My new work for women's choir and piano, "This Song of Mine," will be premiered tonight at Houghton College in Houghton, NY.  "This Song of Mine" will be published this fall by Santa Barbara Music, and tonight the work will be presented by the Houghton College Women's Choir under the direction of David Horace Davies. Houghton College Women’s Choir directed by David Horace Davies April 25th, 2012 – 8:00pm Recital Hall – Center for the Arts Houghton College

Arise and Sing - This Sunday!

This Sunday I will conduct "Arise and Sing" in two services at the Westminster First Congregational Church in Westminster, MA. Arise and Sing is a 30 second introit piece for SATB unaccompanied choir intended to herald the opening of an Easter service.  It is in the key of C and we will be dovetailing it with the opening hymn in the service - Christ the Lord is Risen Today. We tried this last year, and it was pretty cool.  The choir lands on a powerful C major chord at the end of Arise and Sing, and while the choir is holding the last chord (fff of course) the organ comes in like a bulldozer, starting the introduction to the hymn. It's powerful - trust me.  (Or better yet, come hear it on Sunday!)

Below is the King's College Choir singing Jesus Christ is Risen Today (same hymn as Christ the Lord is Risen Today).  We will be singing it out of our hymnal, but Ashley and I co-wrote a descant for the last verse!  Should be quite a morning! Happy Easter to all!

Nocturne IV Premiere Performances Coming Next Week

As I detailed in a post hereNocturne IV is a new work commissioned by the University of Central Florida, scored for saxophone quartet and flute ensemble.  It is based on the fourth movement of my solo piano set, Nocturnes, and the work will be premiered at UCF on the following performances: Monday March 26th - 9:00pm University of Central Florida Woodwind Ensembles Concert Rehearsal Hall, Auditorium (116)

Saturday March 31st - 8:30am - 6:00pm University of Central Florida SaxFest Rehearsal Hall, Auditorium (116)

Best wishes for great performances with this unique ensemble!

Life for a Work After the Premiere

Yesterday I read an interesting article on the Chorus America website titled "What Happens After the Premiere" by Don Lee. The article brings up some interesting points, one of which is that many works are commissioned for a premiere performance and then fall off the map (at least for a certain amount of time).  He points out that there is a distinct marketing advantage for a group to present the premiere versus the 2nd or 3rd performance of a piece.  But, to be honest, I'm not sure the audience really thinks about this as much as the ensemble does.

The audience is there to hear great music, and they are there to be enriched regardless of whether that performance is the very first, or the 2nd, or the 100th.  As a composer, I am of course a huge proponent of commissioning and I think there are myriad benefits, but I am also a huge proponent of supporting pieces after they have been premiered.  Given all the work that goes into bringing a new piece to life, I think we need to be careful to not just premiere a work to pomp and circumstance and then forget about it.

In his article, Lee points to some good programs and partnerships that are striving to address this issue.  Composers certainly have some responsibility here and must do everything they can to ensure that the works have life beyond the premiere performance.

Upcoming Performances

February 18, 2012"Goodnight, Goodnight" included in the JW Pepper "Directors Reading Band" Session at CA All-State Directed by Dr. Jesse Leyva Fresno, CA

February 23, 2012 Bethel College Wind Ensemble performs "Lauda" Directed by Timothy Shade Kansas Music Educators Association Workshop Wichita, KS

February 27, 2012 University of Miami Wind Ensemble performs "Lauda" Directed by Gary Green University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

March 9, 2012 Troy University Symphony Band performs "Lauda" Directed by Dr. Mark Walker Troy, Alabama

March 31, 2012 University of Central Florida Saxophone & Flute Ensemble premieres "Nocturne IV" Annual UCF SaxFest - Orlando, FL

May 20, 2012 Greater Gardner Community Choir performs "Goodnight, Goodnight" Directed by Diane Cushing Gardner, MA

Pieces You Can Premiere! (Part I)

I have a few pieces lurking out there in my catalog that have actually never been performed. While most of the time I am writing a new piece for a specific ensemble, group of ensembles, or particular event, sometimes I write a piece simply because I want to.  In the case of the latter, sometimes I will send the finished piece to groups who I think may be interested.  Other times, I just hold onto the piece.

One of those pieces is a work for Men's Choir (TTBB) and English Horn titled "From Our Happy Home."

It is a Christmas-themed piece, although I wrote it last summer when I stumbled upon a wonderful text by Louisa May Alcott.  I felt like the text called for a fun and lighthearted setting, and so I chose men's choir and the beautiful (but also witty) english horn to accompany them.  The piece is 3 minutes long - bursting with fun and energy throughout.  After I wrote the piece last summer, I added it to my website and moved onto the next project.

So, thinking well ahead of the 2012 Holiday Season - you can purchase the music and have yourself the premiere performance!  Contact me if you are interested.

Women's Choir Piece - In Progress

In a previous post, I shared a beautiful text which I have been planning to set.  I've been working out some ideas for weeks and 2 weeks ago I decided that the piece would work well for women's choir (SA, some divisi) and piano. So, I've been hard at work and the piece is basically done now, just some editing and tweaking to do. It's one of those pieces I just wanted to write, and wasn't being written for specific performance or ensemble.  So...that means the premiere performance is up for grabs!  I'm posting this on my blog and facebook to see if a women's choir out there would like to premiere the piece.

If you/your ensemble is interested in premiering the piece, let me know (email steve [at] stevedanyew [dot] com).  As a special holiday treat, I'm willing to provide the PDF version for FREE to the ensemble that will premiere the piece!

The whole piece is about 4.5 minutes long.  The piece is not very difficult - sort of a delicate lullaby-type song.  The text is taken from a beautiful poem titled "My Song" by Rabindranath Tagore -  more details about the text follow the two pages below...

Tagore's "My Song" is a simple and beautiful poem - a collection of statements, promises, about "this song of mine." I selected several of the lines from the poem to make up the text for this piece. Here are the lines included in the text:

This song of mine will wind its music around you, my child, like the fond arms of love. This song of mine will touch your forehead like a kiss of blessing. My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams, it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown. It will be like the faithful star overhead when dark night is over your road. When you are alone it will sit by your side and whisper in your ear.

Beautiful words from Tagore, don't you think? If you are interested in premiering the piece, please contact me at steve [at] stevedanyew [dot] com. Thanks!