First Contact: Death, Love, and the Creative Impulse – Originally published in Artborne Magazine

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 / Amanda Alvear, 25 / Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 / Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 / Antonio Davon Brown, 29 / Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 / Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 / Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 / Luis Daniel Conde, 39 / Cory James Connell, 21 / Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 / Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 / Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 / Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 / Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 / Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 / Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 / Paul Terrell Henry, 41 / Frank Hernandez, 27 / Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 / Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 / Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 / Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 / Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 / Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 / Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 / Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 / Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 / Kimberly Morris, 37 / Akyra Monet Murray, 18 / Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 / Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 / Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 / Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 / Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 / Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 / Jean C.Nives Rodriguez, 27 / Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 / Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 / Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 / Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 / Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 / Martin Benitez Torres, 33 / Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 / Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 / Luis S. Vielma, 22 / Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 / Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 / Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

Rehearsal at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, July 25, 2016. photo by Jason Fronczek

Part of being human means that the aftermath of death and tragedy is almost always accompanied by bursts of sexual or creative activity. These affirmations of life, love, connection, and community are a show of strength to ourselves, reminding us that while death will inevitably come for us too, we are undeniably and powerfully still here. When the scope of death and tragedy is broader and more profound, so too is the creative impulse in response to it.

On June 12, 2016, at approximately 2AM, a young, troubled, questioning man from an Afghan immigrant family opened fire in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub with legally purchased weaponry, killing 49 people and injuring 53 more in the deadliest act of violence against the LGBTQ+ community in U.S. history, the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, and the deadliest attack to occur on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. The American poet Theodore Roethke, in his poem “The Far Field”, asserted that “All finite things reveal infinitude… A ripple widening from a single stone / Winding around the waters of the world.” And what a stone the shooter, Omar Mateen, turned out to be. But he’s not the only stone in this metaphor. The dead, the wounded, the survivors, the witnesses, and the first responders all played a role that night, creating wave after wave of effect that started in the Orlando community but quickly went worldwide.

There have been several big, beautiful, creative responses to the shooting. In addition to at least 24 vigils in and around Orlando and fundraisers both great and small in scale, art exhibitions and benefit concerts have multiplied. Venues such as Parliament House, The CFE Arena at UCF, Hard Rock Live, and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPAC), have hosted concert events in the months immediately following the shooting. Perhaps the the largest event, the monumental Beautiful Together, combined the efforts and talents of more than 60 local arts organizations at DPAC.

Let me introduce the first-tier set of stones in this metaphor: I have the good fortune, through my participation in The Landmark Forum, of knowing singer Andrea Canny (Music Production Supervisor at, a locally-based website that sells audition materials for actors and singers), who, along with Joyce Arbucias of The Imagination House (a local heavy-hitting production company, and parent company of Performer Stuff), Chris Yakubchik of Forster, Boughman, and Lefkowitz, and Tony Award winner Kenny Howard (of the Florida Theatrical Association), formed an LLC called Imagine Orlando, for the initial purpose of putting together an enormous benefit concert, From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando, in response to the Pulse shooting. Imagine Orlando partnered with Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley, and Michael Moritz Jr., who, themselves, partnered with Van Dean of Broadway Records to produce From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook.

I mentioned The Landmark Forum because her experience in their course encouraged Canny to dream big about what the event could become. She believes deeply in the power of music to provoke both thought and feeling, reinforce community, and to heal. She enlisted and enrolled her team, and got the ball rolling. Once these two parties got together, the next step was to get the talent on board, namely the Broadway performers, and a who’s who of Broadway answered the call, including six Tony Award winners and lead performers in current shows. Once the solo talent was secured, the team set about getting the infrastructure in place, all of it pretty much donated or underwritten: flights, hotel rooms, a commitment from DPAC, materials and incentives for an auction, back line equipment, printing, sound, video, and stage technicians, and many other countless gestures of support from coffee and water to security personnel, ushers, transportation coordinators and Pulse Survivors at the auction table.

An orchestra was put together, primarily comprised of musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic—a sort of blind date between them and a rhythm section that flew down from New York. A 100+ voice choir, Orlando Voices United Choir, was formed for the event, comprised of singers from Disney, the Orlando Gay Chorus, and elsewhere. New orchestrations were created for the event, which also required the services of a copyist/librarian to assist with getting individual parts to all the musicians. The list of phone calls and emails exchanged to make this all happen must be impressive.

Rehearsal at The Plaza, July 24, 2016. photo by Jason Fronczek

I got to witness the rehearsals for the two sessions before the July 25th performance, first at the Plaza Live, and then at DPAC. The atmosphere at the Plaza was a mixture of enthusiasm, freneticism, stoicism, or professionalism depending on where I focused my attention. Rehearsals can be a festival of groans and eye-rolls when things are not going well, and the Plaza rehearsal was stalling repeatedly. The guitarist was the only member of the rhythm section present. The Orchestrator, Kim Scharnberg, was giving notes and comments to Music Director Michael Moritz who was doing heroic double duty as pianist and conductor. “I’m in a bad dream with no rhythm section,” Moritz said. The copyist/librarian Don Oliver, muttering and cursing under his breath, with his shaggy dog nearby, struggled as valiantly as the legendary Little Dutch Boy trying to plug each new leak in a Haarlem dike with his finger, as musicians seemingly at random declared that their individual notated parts were nowhere to be found, all while trying to prepare and tape together parts for the songs yet to be rehearsed. The always professional, get-it-done-with-grace concert mistress for the Orlando Philharmonic, Rimma Bergeron-Langlois, quietly discussed bowings, phrasings, tempo changes, and changes made on the fly with the other violinists. Composer, pianist, and musical force at Imagination House, Mike Avila, who was working behind the scenes along with Andrea Canny and Imagine Orlando, stepped in to play the bass parts on a synthesizer, and suddenly everything started gelling in a way it hadn’t before.

Ultimately, everyone was doing what they could to help solve the myriad kinds of problems that inevitably come up when trying to accomplish something big. But not just something big–something big with an emotional and personal stake, and everybody involved has a stake in this. Locals feel the Pulse shooting deeply because Orlando is our home. These were our people, our friends, our children, our family. The people coming down from New York are no strangers to tragedy. They know what September 11 feels like. And they know how the LGBTQ+ community feels, too. Broadway has been on the absolute front lines in the cultural conversation on sexual orientation and gender identity for many decades.

By the time the Broadway soloists, choir, full musical ensemble, and all the necessary technicians were in place for the rehearsal at DPAC the next day, everything seemed to be running like clockwork and there was a buzzing excitement backstage. The show itself was a heartfelt, hopeful, soaring, melancholy, raunchy mixtape chosen by the soloists to both play to their strengths and thematically tie the lyrics to some aspect of the tragedy. But this isn’t about the concert itself. This is about the powerful choice to create in response to death. And it’s about loving each other the way that the people we lost would want to love us if they could. What the world needs now…

The beneficiaries of From Broadway with Love are the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, a gathering place for more than 20 support groups that also offers free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, among other services; the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, which services and supports those dealing with AIDS; and Zebra Coalition, a network of organizations which provide services to LGBTQ+ youth, ages 13 to 24.

To pre-order an audio or video recording of the event, please visit

First Contact: DJ K8 – Originally published in Artborne Magazine

What we surround ourselves with matters. Interior designers know that the flow of a space, its colors, textures, and materials can affect our feelings as we navigate an airport, bus or train terminal, our digestion in a restaurant or dining room, or our energy level and behavior in the workplace, a dance floor, or our bedrooms. Sometimes traits in design coalesce long enough and consistently enough for a definitive style to emerge. Industrial, Mid-Century Modern, Shaker, Moroccan, French Country, Shabby Chic, and many others all have their own hallmark approaches to materials, palettes, lines and symmetries.

Musical styles emerge in much the same manner, through the emergence of common practices. Approaches to musical timbre, texture, form, tempo, melody, harmony, meter and phrasing have always been the principal elements of musical style throughout history. Additionally, technology influences music making. The development of publishing in the mid-15th century, experiments in tuning systems that eventually led us to the equal-tempered system we use today, and the development of new instruments all have influenced composers for centuries. Some events become game changers. The rise of the piano approximately 300 years ago is a good example. Its dynamic capabilities alone were immediately recognized as superior. Composers abandoned the harpsichord and never really looked back. The 20th century has seen several game changers: recording technology at the beginning, amplification and then analog synthesis in the middle, and digitization near the end.

Photo courtesy of Brian Miller Photography

Digitization has gone hand-in-hand with democratization and dissemination. Massive libraries of professionally recorded music samples of any instrument imaginable, affordable software with a wealth of processing possibilities that would have filled an entire recording studio a few decades ago, and a plethora of both professional and home-made on-line how-to videos (many of admittedly questionable quality) have led to musical experimentation (and imitation) on a scale never seen before. It resulted in an explosion of musical genres and sub-genres, particularly in styles that rely on digital means for production.

New technologies often create new niches to occupy and new opportunities. One artistic career path that never would have existed without these revolutions is that of the DJ, a role which itself experienced an evolution over time, having crossed the divide from analog to digital, from vinyl through CDs and on to binary-coded data within a software program. One of the software go-to’s for DJs is Traktor, an offering from the German hardware/software company Native Instruments. Traktor can take musical audio files and perform tempo and tonality detection. It can layer on effects such as filtering, delays, and reverbs, or it can slice a sound file up based on its transients (basically its clearest, least-difficult-to-manipulate fragments) so that a DJ can re-order them, loop them, or otherwise get playful, using paired external interfaces or iOS devices designed so that DJs can still maintain a tactile relationship to what they’re creating.

And what are they creating exactly? Interior design is a good analogy for what many contemporary DJs do because they arrange found musical objects in personal ways, aiming to create an enticing flow of energies, textures, and moods. Kathryn Correy, or DJK8, the force behind WPRK’s Halcyon Radio show (91.5 FM in Orlando or for streaming) Saturdays from 7-9pm, is a specialist in Liquid Drum & Bass. This is an emotional, more reflective sub-genre of Drum & Bass which was originally a hard-hitting, fast tempo electronic style that emerged in England in the early 1990s and relied on syncopated drum grooves and focused attention on bass and sub-bass lines. Characteristic of both genre and sub-genre is the existence of tempo layers. The hi-hat and snare drum typically express a tempo of 150-180 beats per minute, while the rate of change in other parts happens at half or even one-quarter that speed. Think of a Rubin Vase, the image that is both a chalice and two faces in profile facing each other. You can hold one image in the foreground at a time, not both. Similarly, you can focus your perception at the faster or slower tempo.

Photo by Megan Bedford Photography.

Correy compares her Halcyon Radio sets to journaling. She designs two hours of cathartic, emotional experience, often using the show to help process her own feelings that built up over the week, though she also embraces diversions to fulfill a listener request on the fly or to showcase something new. I shadow a Halcyon set and watch DJK8, with laptop, Traktor, and a digital hardware interface that resembles old-school turntables. Syncopated bass lines rumble under ethereal pads that evolve as the filters on them open and close like breathing. Breaks filled with glittering arpeggios and reverberant vocals with taunting phrases about empty love slam into tightly tuned snare drums. A nearly constant presence is the hi-hats, the mated pair of sizzling cymbals that press tightly into each other most of the time like lovers who can’t get away from each other if they tried. Aggression has a place too as the set nears the 90-minute mark, with smoother, sine-wave bass lines getting replaced with heavier, harsher sawtooths. Despite the relatively hypnotic, static rhythmic surface, the under-layers undergo nearly constant change. An avid supporter and vocal advocate for other DJs and producers she loves and admires, Correy intersperses her set with song ID’s, shout-outs and promos.

Correy is a mother too, and a full-time hairdresser, but music is never far from her thoughts. She devotes most of her free time to research, listening, podcasting, set preparation, and performing. With two DJ brothers and a singer/songwriter father, Correy increasingly felt the pull to perform, and by 2011 began entering the DJ scene in and around Orlando, hosting SceneOrlando Live and performing in venues like Spacebar or Sandwich Bar. In live settings, DJK8’s journaling approach gets tossed out the window, though her starting point always focuses on love: empty love, unconditional love, spiritual love, nostalgic love. Performing live, she prefers making on-the-fly choices based on the energy she gets from the dance floor, which for Correy is the most addicting aspect of what she does. It’s all about being completely and utterly present with and for the crowd, feeling the love and loving the energy.

Listen to DJK8 at

First Contact: ISM – Originally published in Artborne Magazine

Amongst mathematicians, cosmologists and sci-fi nerds with a willingness to dig a little deeper than a bong-fueled conversation beneath a mote of stars on a June night in the Catskills Mountains, there is the Drake Equation. This probabilistic argument is used to estimate the number of intelligent alien civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy and the likelihood of an E.T. visit or communication. This is based on three main variables: the number of habitable planets, the evolution of intelligent life on those planets, and the capacity for civilizations to survive long enough to achieve interstellar communication or travel. The Drake Equation relies on lots of conjecture and little observation and thus results in a wide range of answers. Many are playful or combative extrapolations, and occasionally innovative re-applications. One such retool of the Drake Equation was used by male physics students at Harvard University to address a mystery closer to home: how many eligible single women their age are living in Boston? They arrived at a depressingly sober estimate of around 2,500.

Frank Drake was a young radio astronomer when he formulated his equation in 1961. His intention was to catalyze an orderly search for alien life. Radio telescopes had been in use since the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that radio telescopes – like the one built at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico – became powerful enough or sensitive enough to possibly detect an alien radio signal amidst the noise of the cosmic microwave background radiation. This noise is the low-level, leftover fluctuating glow of thermal radiation from the Big Bang that streams at us from every direction in the microwave region of the radio spectrum.

Eventually, large arrays of radio telescopes were employed. One was featured in the popular 1997 film “Contact,” based on the novel by Carl Sagan, where Dr. Eleanor Arroway, a SETI scientist played by Jodie Foster is chosen to make first contact with an alien civilization after compelling evidence is discovered of an extraterrestrial radio signal.

It is quintessentially human to create and use equations and formulas to prove or predict. We are creatures obsessed with our knowledge of time. We want to understand our past and know our future. Einstein’s E=mc2 helps us understand the very nature of space and time on a universal scale, while the Pythagorean Theorem (a2 + b2 = c2) links algebra, geometry, and trigonometry and made navigation on Earth possible in the first place.

On a more immediate, earthly, less math-y level: predictive formulas have emerged behind the scenes to powerfully manipulate consumer behavior, from food to clothing to music. The addictive nature of most junk food is no accident. Food researchers relentlessly test subjects to find “the bliss point” for their products: the optimal palatability where the synergistic combination of sugar, salt, and fat produces an endorphin rush run by the neurotransmitter dopamine that has us suddenly staring at the bottom of a bag of chips like an addicted casino slot-jockey in Atlantic City with a cup of dollar tokens wondering where it all went.

It doesn’t stop there. In the age of data mining and digital streaming, companies like Echo Nest use software to analyze a song’s basic musical characteristics such as beats per minute, tonality, and loudness, but also more refined elements like texture, timbre and perceived brightness. This is all in an effort to create hit-predicting algorithms and serve you tailored listening suggestions on services like Spotify or Pandora. Songwriting teams now search for a musical bliss point, serving you copious hooks and ear candy, with greater homogeneity of tonality, timbre and loudness.

I want my music scene to be more like the Drake Equation and less like the Bliss Point. This column will be dedicated to finding signs of intelligent musical life in Orlando, of the non-bliss-point-data-mined-group-think variety. I’m going to start with a local 8-piece funk-slash-jazz combo called Ism. Led by vibraphonist Ian McLeod, he and the majority of players are all faculty members in Full Sail University’s Bachelor of Science in Music Production degree program. Full Sail launched that degree program in 2010, and with it came an influx of composers and musicians both local and from around the country.

Ism performing at the Full Sail Music Fest, February 2016. Photo provided by Ism.

Like a toddler with a machine gun, Ism’s sound doesn’t aim in one direction for long, and they don’t care, spraying in the general area between funk and modern jazz, with tight rhythm changes, unconventional instrumentation, and forays into mixed meter. Occasionally Hip-hop and Salsa wind up casualties of war too. The consistent strain, though, is that this is music in motion, party music that may relax its pace a bit, only so you can catch your breath for the next up-tempo romp.

Ism is a young group, but they have the experience and attitude of seasoned professionals, trained to read music. Ready to play and ready to learn, they are musicians’ musicians, without the drawback of diva tensions. Individuals have played throughout the country for years, done hard time at Disney, recorded albums everywhere and engineered them too. As their backgrounds are diverse, so their eclecticism derives in part from the writing and arranging styles of its members.

Ian McLeod did a lot of the early arranging and writing. But Scott Dickinson, Ism’s trumpet player who was hired by Full Sail just shy of his doctorate at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music for his facility with arranging, has contributed tunes too. Increasingly, writing credits expanded to include more and more members of the group, reflecting McLeod’s easy-going leadership style. Individual contributions are welcome, and the group gives all ideas an earnest shot.

Veit Renn, Ism’s German-born keyboard player teaches mixing at Full Sail and was recruited in part because he has written and produced for artists such as N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Under the name F8te he recently released “Overdue”, an R&B album of his own songs featuring himself as vocalist. Renn is the mix engineer for Ism’s yet untitled album that will be released at a performance party at Will’s Pub on July 14 at 9pm (1042 North Mills Avenue, Orlando).

Ian McLeod – Vibraphone/MIDI Vibes
Scott Dickinson – Trumpet
Jeremy Fratti – Tenor Sax
Derrick Harris – Trombone
Veit Renn – Keys/Vocals
Greg Jungbluth – Bass
Nik Ritchie – Drums
Bob Patterson – Guitar

Panta Rei performed by Hippocrene Saxophone Ensemble February 15 and March 1

The Hippocrene Saxophone Ensemble will perform new music by Central Florida Composers Forum members and others at the Gallery at Avalon Island (37 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Florida) at 7:00PM. The concert includes a performance of my Panta Rei for saxophone quartet, originally premiered by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet. The Hippocrene Saxophone Ensemble will reprise the concert on March 1 at 8PM in the UCF Rehearsal Hall.

The entire program is:

– David MacDonald: *Linear Geometry*
– William Albright: *Doo-Dah*
– Steven Danyew: Saxophone Quartet No. 2: *Chant*
– Charles B. Griffin: *Panta Rei*
– Benoit Glazer: *Petite Fete de Sax*
– Daniel Saylor: *Waves to Oceans (Organic Suite Composition #1)*
– David MacDonald: *Ungroup*

Zero Crossings – October 19, 2015, Interviews with Full Sail Students & Composers Gabriel Kahane and Mark Piszczek

Today’s show featured a presentation by four young composers in Full Sail University’s MPBS program (Bachelor of Science in Music Production) on songs they care about and chose to analyze. The composers and their songs were: Claudio Matta discussing Damien Rice’s “I Don’t Want to Change You,” Vincent Indiano and P.O.D.’s “If it wasn’t for You,” Jerrell Vargas and Evan Craft’s “Quiero Decirte,” and James Tyler presenting Michael Jackson’s “You Rock My World.” My interviews with them and their presentations were recorded, but there was an issue with one of the microphones. I’m going to try to clean it up, so check back for audio from the first hour.
kahaneIn the second hour I interviewed over the telephone Gabriel Kahane, whose new work for string orchestra called “Freight and Salvage” will premiere this weekend at the Bob Carr Theater, as their new Music Director Eric Jacobsen leads the Orlando Philharmonic in a program that also includes Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe: Suite No. 2. Van Cliburn silver medalist Joyce Yang will be the pianist for the concerts which take place on October 24 at 8PM and Sunday at 2PM.
Mark-Piszczek-Composer-1024x585Local composer Mark Piszczek joined me in the studio to discuss his own premiere this weekend by the Brevard Symphony, led by Christopher Confessore of a new piece called Songs from the Gulf of Sorrows. The performance will take at King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Florida. Mark also discussed his plans for the creation and opening of a new performance venue in Orlando, Blue Bamboo Music.

      Zero Crossings – October 19, 2015, featuring
interviews with Gabriel Kahane and Mark Piszczek

Murmuring in Comala to be performed at 43rd annual Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico by pianist Ana Cervantes, October 15, 2015

980-anacervantespianoOn October 15 at 5PM in the Salón del Consejo Universitario in the principal building of the University of Guanajuato, pianist Ana Cervantes will perform a program titled Exposición/ReExposición (in English, Exposition/Recapitulation): a kind of retrospective consisting of pieces she’s interpreted over the course of her 15 years studying, working and living in Mexico. This program is a Recapitulation –necessarily brief— of some of the music which she has commissioned or premiered, including music of Georgina Derbez, Gabriela Ortiz, Jack Fortner, Alex Shapiro, Mario Lavista, Stephen McNeff, and Tomás Marco, among others. My contribution to the program will be a solo piano work entitled Murmuring in Comala, originally commissioned by Ana as part of a multi-composer project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Pedro Paramo, an important proto-magical-realist novel by Mexican author Juan Rulfo. She premiered at the 34th Festival Internacional Cervantino in October 2006 and subsequestly recorded the work on compact disc.

Rulfo’s striking sonic palette (groaning wheels, rattling windows, falling rain and murmuring ghosts), echoes the complex narrative unfolding, where we rarely know whose voice we are hearing initially. Just as sounds imply someone making them, we recognize the voices peripherally, like registering a ghost image. We discover whose voice it was rather than whose voice it is. We must resist the temptation to steamroll through these difficult passages because these veiled voices are so crucial to our understanding. Equally striking is the novel’s non-linear conception of time. It flowers slowly in multiple directions. This is a lovely analog to music, which is surprisingly multidirectional: we listen ahead and backward simultaneously, constantly reinterpreting each new musical gesture by placing it in its previous context and anticipating its direction.

The White House Overture receives local premiere at the Global Peace Film Festival, October 1 & 3

GPFFThe new documentary film about one of the most unique venues in Orlando will receive its local premiere screening at the Global Peace Film Festival on October 1 and 3 in Orlando.

Benoit Glazer and his wife built a concert hall in their Orlando home to share unique experiences of music and art with everyone. Montréal-born Benoit Glazer has been making music professionally since 1981. He is a trumpet player, arranger and a conductor for Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba in Orlando, Florida. His love for music runs deep, so deep, in 2007 he and his wife built a concert hall in their house. Just about every Sunday night strangers (who become friends) gather in their living room to share a unique experience of music and art. Admission is a dish, snacks or a bottle of wine. They’ve hosted over 400 concerts, musicians from 24 countries along with 300 artists. The Timucua white house is quickly becoming a cultural icon in Orlando.

Director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer and Editor Steve Radley graduated in communications from the University of Wisconsin. He has produced and directed short video web vignettes for various companies.

The documentary opens and closes with excerpts from my string quartet, Set Fire to Have Light, which was performed at the White House during the time the documentary was being filmed in May 2013.

3 Meditations for Women’s Chorus included on Penisula Women’s Chorus new CD “Mostly Made in America”

chorus_informal_300dpiThe California-based Peninsula Women’s Chorus recently released Mostly Made in America (2015), a CD that includes my 3 Meditations for Women’s Chorus. The CD release comes on the heels of a concert tour that ended in Argentina. This CD is an homage to the musical heritage of America, giving voice to celebration, uncertainty, the spirit of struggle, as well as the tranquility and familiarity of the sounds of home. PrintFeatured on the CD are some the PWC’s signature and most intimate performances, including the heart-wrenching “Let Evening Come,” the battling interludes of “Thou Famished Grave,” the intricate and exuberant “Venite Exultemus Domino” and the well-loved Songs of Night, commissioned to celebrate Artistic Director Martín Benvenuto’s tenth anniversary with the PWC in 2013.

Shards I performed by Nicholas Horvath as part of Glassworlds in Orlando, September 6

horvathTen hours of piano music will be performed non-stop by Nicolas Horvath at the Timucua White House on September 6, 2015 starting at noon. Glassworlds will be an epic exploration into 21st century avant-garde music featuring the music of Philip Glass plus homages by American composers to the minimalist master. The audience is invited to immerse themselves in this sonic environment and can come and go quietly as they wish during the performance. Donations and refreshments will be welcomed at the door.
During this performance, Horvath will feature works by me and Central Florida composers Thad Anderson and Steve Kornicki. My contribution was a yet-to-be-completed set of solo piano pieces that take as a motive Steve Reich’s minimalist classic, Piano Phase as a source for variations inspired by Philip Glass and run through my own compositional filter. Anderson is Assistant Professor of Music at UCF, Kornicki has composed media production music heard around the world as well as contemporary classical with a recent performance by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, and Griffin hosts the radio program “Zero Crossings” at Rollins College WPRK.
Horvath will begin with the entire Philip Glass piano repertoire then take the audience through the Glass homages by renowned local and US composers, each visited one-by-one, like sound objects in a vast music ocean. Every composition has been written specially and exclusively for Horvath’s virtuosic expertise. The eclectic mix varies from up-and-coming composers born in the 90s to more seasoned composers, from post-minimal to post-complexity styles and a multitude of other avant-garde influences –Glassworlds offers something enjoyable for everyone.
“With incredible stamina and concentration (and with fleeting aid of eye drops every few hours and maybe a sip of red bull), Horvath undertakes the entirety of this repertoire from start to finish without a single break, playing for up to 10 hours. Echoing the informal New York School approach, the audience is free to get up, move around, lie down on a pillow and blanket and even have a quiet snack or a bar visit. Whether audience members come from beginning to end, leave for a bit and return or only stay for a few hours; being able to listen to this gargantuan musical process is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be fully taken advantage of! Don’t let it be missed!” ~ Nikolaii Westgarth
Besides the three local composers, there will be works by American Composers Kyle Gann, Paul A. Epstein, Carson P. Cooman, Alvin Curran, Michael Jon Fink, Jim Fox, Eric Moe, Gary Powel Nash, William Susman, Michael Vincent Waller, Bil Smith, and more.

Zero Crossings – August 3, 2015, Featuring an interview with Stephen Sieffert

stevesiefertToday’s show featured an interview with dulcimer player Stephen Siefert. Siefert was in town from Nashville to perform with the Orlando Philharmonic for their concert featuring music of the Americas. Led by Duo Sole (Mauricio Céspedes Rivero and Alexander Stevens), this concert featured music from Canada, North America, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Featured composers include Connie Ellisor, Ennio Morricone, Astor Piazzolla, Alberto Ginastera, and a world premiere by Benoit Glazer. Featuring Mauricio Cespedes Rivero on viola and guitar, Alexander Stevens on violin and Stephen Seifert, dulcimer.

The music aired during the program included:
Stephen Siefert – Black Mountain Rag, from Delcimore Revisited
Stephen Siefert – Twilight Eyes, from Delcimore Revisited
Connie Ellisor – Blackberry Winter Movement 1, performed by Stephen Siefert and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra
Stephen Siefert – Mode for Dulcimer, from Key West Dulcimer Fest
Benoit Glazer – Chance’s Main Theme, from 7 Lives of Chance (Soundtrack) (Timucua Records)
Alberto Ginastera – Danzas Argentinas, performed by Michiko Tsuda
Alberto Ginastera – String Quartet No. 1, performed by Enso Quartet
Alberto Ginastera – Concerto for Harp and Orchestra
Ennio Morricone – The Mission: Gabriel’s Oboe

Listen to the show here:

      Zero Crossings – August 3, 2015, featuring an interview with Stephen Siefert