Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Some previews, and other news

August 4, 2009

I have some exciting news as a composer—I'm writing what amounts to a new opera. Details will be forthcoming as soon as it's appropriate to make an official announcement. In the meantime, because so much time is spent composing (and practicing) and September 8 (when I have to start teaching again) is right around the corner, I will not be blogging as frequently as I have, at least until the opera-composition task is out of the way. But there is much to be said, and I'll try not to get TOO far behind.

Later today, at a private home overlooking Long Island Sound, Phyllis and I will present a preview of some things we're doing this fall. First on the program will be the song cycle Gitanjili by John Alden Carpenter, on texts of Rabindranath Tagore. We have performed these pieces at least a half-a-dozen times over the past decade, including a performance at the Dartington International School of the Arts (Tagore was a consultant in the founding of Dartington College and visited the school many times in the early twentieth century). We're getting geared up to do the cycle again at South Congregational Church in Middletown as part of an event that will be a tribute to Tagore, with a short speech, readings from his poetry, some of Tagore's own musical compositions, and a public exhibition of prints of some of his paintings. That's going to happen on Sunday 27 September, and we'll be ready for it!

After the Carpenter songs, I'll preview the Twelve Fugues of Gerald Shapiro. They are coming along, but they are the sort of thing one needs to play privately as many times as possible, before playing them publicly. I'll be playing them for the composer again this coming Thursday, two days from now! Yikes! (As anyone knows who plays new music, playing for the composer can be nervewracking—but forewarned is forearmed.) Shep is a great critic, and has a very clear idea of what he wants his music to be. So the fugue preview today is preparation for the next composer preview, as well as the public performances in October. I will have at least two more private performances of these pieces in August. I've become very fond of them, as has my teacher, Sophia Rosoff. I'm about to find out what a few other people think.