Wednesday, January 29.
The Abbey – 100 S. Eola Drive, Suite 100, Orlando FL
Show starts at 7:30pm, doors open at 7:00pm
$15 in advance, $20 at the door
What happens when six composers from the Central Florida Composers Forum collaborate with six storytellers from the Orlando Weekly “Best of 2019” Orlando Story Club on a predetermined theme? The result is “Joyland,” a one-of-a-kind and first-of-its kind event in Central Florida, produced by the Downtown Arts District. Storytellers will perform compelling personal experiences accompanied by original scores by local composers. The stories and styles are as diverse as our city.
The pairs are as follows: Bobby Wesley with Mark Piszczek; Jesse James with Charlie Griffin; Logan Anderson with Erik Branch; Madeline Potts with Paul Austin Sanders; Daniele Ziss with Alex Burtzos; and Aquanza Cadogan with Holly Cordero.
The storytellers will perform with live music by players drawn from the local Alterity Chamber Orchestra, a group known for its dedication to performing contemporary music at the highest levels: Tina Edelstein, flute; Beatriz Ramirez, oboe; Jessica Speak, clarinet; Kathy Thomas, horn; and Christian Eberle, bassoon.
Steve Siegel will perform my Between Islands at Western State Colorado University on November 3 at 2pm. During the performance, students from the Art Department will create a collaborative painting to the music.
Between Islands – for trumpet and electronic score is an expression of the experience of separation from loved ones long gone. According to Griffin, “The experience of losing a truly loved person is profoundly sad at the beginning and for a long time. But the quality of that loss gradually transforms. It becomes part of who we are. And with that realization comes a sense of serenity because the people we loved and lost are clearly residing within us.”
Venus & the Radio
Thursday, August 8 at the Timucua White House
2000 South Summerlin, Orlando, FL 32806.
Doors: 7pm. Concert: 7:30.
Tickets are $10.
While Orlando has begun to gain recognition for its arts community, not much has been said about the lines and boundaries drawn between artistic disciplines. When it comes to music and literature, The Central Florida Composers Forum, in collaboration with local literary publisher Burrow Press, aim to blur those boundaries and inspire future collaborations with their upcoming event, “Venus & the Radio.”
This one-of-a-kind event will feature two prominent Florida authors reading excerpts from their newest books (published by Burrow Press) in collaboration with four Orlando-based members of the Central Florida Composers Forum.
Orlando Poet Laureate Susan Lilley will perform Florida-inspired work from her collection Venus in Retrograde with accompaniment from composers Mark Piszczek and Timothy Stulman. Piszczek’s interactive approach will incorporate Lilley reading live with Piszczek on soprano saxophone and pre-recorded audio electronically manipulated by sound artist Jared Silvia. Stulman will do real-time audio processing of Lilley’s performance, combined with a pre-recorded audioscape.
Shane Hinton will perform excerpts from Radio Dark, a surreal post-apocalyptic novel set in Florida. Composers Holly Cordero and Charlie Griffin will provide an underscore in the manner of classic radio plays.
“This event is a great opportunity to not only illustrate the variety of talent in Orlando,” says Burrow Press publisher Ryan Rivas, “but also to acknowledge that art isn’t created in a vacuum. And especially to show how one art form can and does inspire others.”
A Q&A and book signing will follow the performance.
On June 12 & 13, at 6:30pm, at the Melbourne Auditorium (625 E Hibiscus Blvd, Melbourne, FL), the Melbourne Community Orchestra will perform my Frontispiece on J.S. Bach’s Prelude in G major, a 4+-minute work that features as part of it J.S. Bach’s solo cello Prelude in G major. The work was commissioned by the Orlando Philharmonic in 2018. The piece presents the prelude in its entirety at the center of it and is fully orchestrated, with countermelodies, and an introduction and closing based on the main Bach motive. The orchestra is the exact same instrumentation as Brahms’s Symphony #1: double winds, four horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings, with the added solo cello. The Bach Prelude exhibits that special magic that he’s so famous for amongst composers, particularly the outlining of chord structures and polyphonic lines within the solo cello part. He also, once G major is established, takes a kaleidoscopic detour away from the home key before returning to the spectacularly sunny opening motive. I tried to capture the various tonal worlds and motives that Bach crafts in the original and amplify them with my orchestration.
The Duo Gastesi-Bezerra will perform my From the Faraway Nearby, scored for piano-4-hands at Connecticut’s New Britain Museum of American Art on May 26, 2019, at 3pm. With over a decade of experience playing together, the American Record Guide bills them as “a strong combination, playing very well together . . . often indistinguishable.” Gastesi, a native of Basque Country, has performed throughout Europe and the United States, and Bezerra, a native of Brazil, is a distinguished Fulbright Scholar.
Internationally noted classical guitarist Robert Phillips will be giving a concert of new music at the Timucua Arts Foundation White House on May 17 at 7:30 PM. The centerpiece of the concert will be a set of six dances written for Robert by Central Florida based composers. Those composers include Jorge Morel, Benoit Glazer, Charles Griffin, Troy Gifford, Howard Buss, and Rex Willis. In addition, Phillips will play a set of Nocturnes composed for him by British composer John W. Powell.
Phillips recently recorded the pieces that comprise this program. The works are in dance rhythms ranging from waltzes to rumbas and incorporating elements of Afro-Cuban music, Flamenco, and Brazilian dance rhythms. They are to be performed as a set along with a prelude by Robert under the title of The Orange Blossom Dances. These important new works will be released by MSR Classics.
Robert has brought his brilliant interpretations to a diverse range of venues – from traditional concert halls including New York’s prestigious Town Hall, and Lincoln Center to jazz nightclubs. His performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall was sold out. In addition to the standard repertory, Robert performs his own compositions, and has premiered works by three-time Pulitzer nominee, Frank Brazinski, Eric Ross, Alfred Giusto, and Meyer Kupferman, as well as a concerto written for him by three-time Grammy winner, Michael Colina. The works by Kupferman and Colina were written for him.
Robert’s recordings include Guitarre Nouveau on TPL records and Lo Mestre, the Music of Miguel Llobet on Centaur records, as well as his self-re-released two volume set, Great Themes and Variations for Classic Guitar (originally released by Mel Bay as a companion to his anthology.) Robert also recently recorded several Spanish songs with Chinese coloratura soprano Shudong Braamse on her Global Music Awards Gold Medal winning album, Sueños De España (Navona Records).
Robert spent the summer of 2017 in Spain participating as a teacher, ensemble coach, and performer in the Chamber Art Madrid music festival. Phillips performed some of the newly commissioned works at this festival. He will be at the festival again in the summer of 2019.
The Timucua Arts Foundation is located at 2000 S Summerlin Ave. Orlando, Florida 32806. The concert begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here.
The Central Florida Composers Forum will present “Waterfalls, Forests, Coastlines, and other Musical Dreams,” a showcase concert of selected works scored for Pierrot Ensemble by Full Sail University composer and Central Florida Composers Forum founder and Executive Director Charlie Griffin, University of Central Florida’s recent transplant Alex Burtzos, Orlando-based composers Erik Branch, Damien Simon, and film composer and Cocoa Beach resident Joe Gray.
The term Pierrot Ensemble refers to a specific instrumentation used by Austrian (and later Austrian-American) composer Arnold Schoenberg for his seminal and most famous work, Pierrot Lunaire. Composed in 1912 for voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, this combination was subsequently taken up by many later composers such as Milton Babbitt, John Cage, and Peter Maxwell Davies.
The musicians featured in this concert will be Julie Bateman (voice), Katie Mess (flute), Erik Cole (clarinet), Pepina Dell’Ollio (violin), Abigail Collins (cello), Ammon Perry Bratt (piano), and Justin Steger (percussion).
A diverse collection of works on the program include Charlie Griffin’s Shifting Coastlines, a trio of songs whose lyrics are taken from an anthology of poetry called Verse and Universe. These songs all draw upon science and math to explore the human experience. One example from the set is “Love’s Discrete Non-linearity,” a poem set like a Gypsy tango that uses the language of Chaos Theory to understand a romantic relationship. Selections from two works by Alex Burtzos will be on the program: The Birth of Dangun, a ballet based on the Korean myth of creation, and The Impossible Object, a multi-movement work inspired by works of M.C. Escher. Four vignettes by Erik Branch will include a premiere of his Brises Dansantes. The concert will be rounded out by Joe Gray’s The Black Forest, and Damien Simon’s Change.
The concert will take place on March 31 at the Timucua White House, 2000 South Summerlin, Orlando, FL 32806. Doors open at 7pm. Concert at 7:30. Tickets are by donation.
I have been invited back to Disney’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts to give two lectures:
Saturday, January 26th – The Music of John Williams and Hans Zimmer: Compare and contrast the music of two titans of the film music industry. From the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films to “Interstellar” and “The Lion King”, I will examine the nature of each composer’s individual genius in writing for film.
Saturday, February. 16th – A look at
how the experiences of writing pop music and music for games plays into the craft of two mainstays of the film music industry. Hear the story and up close look at composers behind such films as “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, “Up” and “The Incredibles”, among others.
The Central Florida Composers Forum presents a piano solo and 4-hands concert that includes my Vernacular Dances. The featured performers are the award-winning pianist Rose Grace and resident pianist for the Alterity Chamber Orchestra, Will Daniels.
The concert will take place on October 21, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. The venue is the Timucua Arts Foundation, 2000 Summerlin, Orlando, Florida. Suggested donation is $10-$20