Video: An Interview with Gustav Meier

Video: An Interview with Gustav Meier

As stated in the video, this interview was given to help share information about Mr. Meier’s book, The Score, the Orchestra, and the Conductor. It is an invaluable resource to any conductor looking to tackle particularly challenging excerpts or to merely understand the anatomy of the orchestra. In it, he illuminates and puts into print (often for the first time) the oral and even unspoken traditions of the orchestra.

Remembering Michael Colgrass

Remembering Michael Colgrass

There was an undeniable electricity in that rehearsal that just crackled between the students. You could feel it, and they certainly felt it too. In fact, they all broke into spontaneous applause afterwards for themselves, for the work, and for that run-through.

Write Yourself In

Write Yourself In

…that more than any other skill is the one that I hope to teach students: not how to avoid failure, but how to learn from it and grow stronger because of it. The number one way to be resilient in music is to not simply wait for the proverbial phone to ring. Instead, create your own opportunities, and write yourself into your projects.

Now Available | Florence Price: Suite of Dances

Now Available | Florence Price: Suite of Dances

…At just 6 minutes, the Suite of Dances will make it possible for a complete work to receive performances on many additional programs where perhaps the cornerstone works have already been selected and a shorter work is desired.

Music Composed by Women is Art. Programming is Not.

Music Composed by Women is Art. Programming is Not.

…a particularly pernicious pattern of argumentation that I want to identify, debate, and debunk. It is the argument that consciously selecting music with the aim of increasing equity, inclusion, and diversity in classical music makes it less likely that the performer will program “the best music,” the music of highest artistic integrity, because they are now selecting for an arbitrary trait rather than solely based on the musical merits.

Here’s what’s wrong with that:

Performance, Forgiveness, and the Art of Self-Care

Performance, Forgiveness, and the Art of Self-Care

…It is critical that we take care of ourselves and allow ourselves to be pleased with imperfect performances; after all, there is no such thing as a perfect performance! The goal is to strive for perfection, to get as close as we can, and then share the perfectly imperfect result with our fellow-travelers. In so doing, we learn a valuable lesson in self-forgiveness and self-care which is crucial to longevity in the music career…

Fifth Price Symphony Confirmed

Fifth Price Symphony Confirmed

Further searching through the so-called “cabin manuscripts” led to the discovery of a fifth symphony by composer Florence Price. G. Schirmer has announced plans to quickly produce a performable edition. Meanwhile performers in the Chicago area

Orchestrating for Success

Orchestrating for Success

When working with young composers preparing a composition to be read for the first time by orchestral musicians, I have a very simple premise. The best shot a composer has at a successful premiere is to have:

  1. excellent musical ideas, 2. cast within thoughtfully engraved parts.

Price: Quartet in G Major

Price: Quartet in G Major

Tomorrow will mark the release of the World Premiere recording of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 4. Those looking for a tiny appetizer in anticipation of tomorrow’s main course will enjoy this live recording of the opening of a movement from Price’s Quartet in G Major. I performed this full strings with a small ensemble assembled for an Advent Cantata service at Hunt’s Memorial UMC where I serve as Music Director. I highly recommend this excerpt for use in church services when looking for a short, uplifting, and accessible selection for strings.

2018: the Year of Florence

2018: the Year of Florence

65 years after her death, one of the twentieth century’s most important voices has finally begun to receive the attention she so richly deserves. Florence Beatrice Price, born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887, was the first African-American woman to have a composition performed in concert by a major American orchestra.

Price: Symphony No. 4

Price: Symphony No. 4

the world will get to experience Price’s final statement in the form in the new year. Thanks to Schirmer’s rapid movements, we will be able to do so with score in hand.

Arts Entrepreneurship - Navigating the 21st Century

Arts Entrepreneurship - Navigating the 21st Century

…We discussed a variety of job opportunities centered around, but expanding outward from an undergraduate degree in music education… I particularly enjoyed sharing some experiences to do with my experiences as a church Music Director. My position is that instrumental music teachers benefit immensely from coming to better understand choral music repertoire and the mechanics of the voice…

Ethiopia's Shadow in America

Ethiopia's Shadow in America

There is nothing quite like leading a group of musicians who devote their precious free time to performing in an orchestra.…opportunity to conduct a small taste of the music of Florence Price. We performed the Andante from Price’s three-movement suite, Ethiopia’s Shadow in America.

Price Catalogue Moves to G. Schirmer

Price Catalogue Moves to G. Schirmer

According to the New York Times, G. Schirmer has announced today that it had acquired rights to the complete Florence Price catalogue worldwide.

G. Schirmer President Robert Thompson confirmed the acquisition on Twitter.

Playlist: 2018-2019

Playlist: 2018-2019

A new season of music is upon us! And with a new season, a tall stack of new scores to learn. I have compiled a number of works that will be performed by the various groups I lead. In addition, I’ve added a few all-time favorites and other interesting tracks.

Remembering Dr. Ted Hansen

Remembering Dr. Ted Hansen

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Ted Hansen. During my tenure as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University-Commerce, I took every class he taught (something I probably can't say about any other professor in my training). As I reflect on those courses, I am struck by the way in which every class was so uniquely organized and tailored to the students and to the topic at hand. No two were alike.

Classical Music is Boring

Classical Music is Boring

Boring speaks to craft. It speaks to craftsmanship. It speaks to long, laborious, often repetitive tasks that have great payoff, if only the craftsman will apply the time and diligence to see the project through to the end.

Priceline

Priceline

This post is one of a series on composer Florence Price.

Below is a timeline of some of the major events of the life of Florence Beatrice Price with many linked sources allowing the reader to explore further.

Price's Symphonic Works: A Field Guide

Price's Symphonic Works: A Field Guide

When an important composer's papers, including dozens of her best works, are lost and then later found, an entire cottage industry must necessarily grow up around bringing these works to life. Thankfully, the University of Arkansas has begun to create exactly that, and many of Price's works are seeing their very first performances and recordings…

Jordan Randall Smith is the Music Director of Symphony Number One.