Talking About Dancing

I just wrapped up a six week stint composing at the Brevard Music Center up in the mountains of North Carolina. The program is intense in the sense that one has to write a lot of music in a very short amount of time. I think is is good overall to sort of view composing as both a job in which you have to clock in some hours everyday as well as an artistic discovery process. Of course, "inspiration" doesn't come everyday while working but I feel as though composers have to supplement that void with whatever the compositional equivalent of scales and etudes are (the Piston Counterpoint and Harmony exercises are my go to). Being around instrumentalists who work on fundamentals intensely everyday made me look back at what I do as a composer. I think we as composers need to focus on "craft" more. 

Anyway, I came out of the Brevard experience with two new pieces; Elysian Fields and Nijinsky Dances. The latter of the two was a piece that's been swirling in my mind for awhile now and has a great deal to do with the Music Center itself. After seeing a performance of Stravinsky's Petrushka in 2012, I wanted to write a big ole flashy dance overture. What came out was a piece that starts with a wink wink nudge nudge to Russian overtures that then veers off into a sort of ghostly atmosphere where fragments of famous ballets emerge and disappear. The rest of the piece combines both Russian overture music with quasi pop/rock/modern dance rhythms. There is a great recording of the piece by the Brevard Sinfonia with David Dzubay conducting on the Nijinsky Dances page. 

I will wrap up by saying that the best part about attending these festivals, especially Brevard, is that you get to meet, interact, and work with high caliber composers. I have met so many talented and all around great people here. There are links to many of their websites in the "etc." page of the website. Check out their music and play it!