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:
excellent musical ideas,
cast within thoughtfully engraved parts.
If you win over the musicians, you are set for success with the audience and….
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.
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.
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.
…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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Florence Price was doubtless one of the great composers of her generation, and the first African American woman "to achieve national recognition for her accomplishments as a symphonic composer." Price seems finally to be having her "moment" with a flurry of press and the premiere of her fourth symphony and second violin concerto all occurring since January. An American original who completed over 300 compositions…
April 2018 has been a month filled with exciting changes to my portfolio of conducting activity as I look ahead to the 2018-2019 season. Here are the two most significant updates:
How do you start a new music ensemble from scratch? I don't pretend to have all the answers but I enjoyed contributing my "piece of the map" to the conversation.
In October 2017, I had the privilege of giving a TED Talk and leading Symphony Number One in a performance at TEDxMidAtlantic 2017 in Washington, DC. My talk was titled Classical Music is Boring. (Turns out, there's more to "boring" than meets the eye!)
This most recent holiday season was a particularly joyful period of celebration. Here is a look at five musical moments from this past November and December:
I think one of the reasons I find this so appealing is that I didn’t initially discover Bruckner through his symphonies. My initial vector was through singing his motets in college. So, I think I never formed my mental Bruckner totem around his orchestrations but rather around his harmonic language, expressed in a capella choral music, as a tool to focus on reverence for The Divine, for The Higher Ideals, and for Our Better Nature. In a word, God.
Dear Representative Cummings,
I am writing to urge you to support FY17 and FY18 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA is a critical component in the network of public, private, corporate, and philanthropic support. Total direct grants by the agency are anticipated to reach more than 33 million people attending live arts events through NEA-supported programs. Grants to orchestras build innovative and civically vibrant communities such as ours by supporting arts education for children and adults, providing citizen access to performances, preserving great classical works, and nurturing the creative endeavors of contemporary classical musicians, composers, and conductors.