Melbourne Community Orchestra performs my Frontispiece June 12 & 13, 2019

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.

Duo Gastesi-Bezerra perform From the Faraway Nearby at Connecticut’s The New Britain Museum of American Art, May 26, 2019

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.

Guitarist Robert Phillips commissioned, recorded, and now presents my Samba Variations on May 17, 2019

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.

Shifting Coastlines presented by Central Florida Composers Forum at Timucua Orlando, March 31, 2019

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.

Guest lectures at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts

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.

Will Daniels performs Vernacular Dances at Timucua in Orlando, October 21, 2018

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

Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble performs Don’t Treat Me as a Stranger in Seattle, October 20, 2018


With Elisabeth Ellis, piano; David Nichols, organ;
Gunnar Folsom & Rob Tucker, percussion

What does it mean to be an American?
Do you know someone who is patriotic?
Who are your American heroes?

Opus 7 explores these questions in the opening concert of our 27th season as we celebrate the American spirit exemplified in these words from Lloyd Pfautsch’s Litany for America: “Dream of a land where all people can think as they please, or say what they think; see an America where no one is another’s master, where no one’s mind is dark with fear—to see an America at peace with the world.”

This thought-provoking and celebratory concert will feature works of musical Americana by some of our country’s most beloved composers, including selections from Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom, Stephen Paulus’s Hymn for America, Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” from his opera The Tender Land, and Lloyd Pfautsch’s A Litany for America.

American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday will be celebrated with a performance of his iconic look at immigration in “America” from West Side Story, while Charles Griffin’s Don’t Treat Me as a Stranger, for choir and percussion, poses the question “who is my brother, my sister?

The concert will also feature a mix of historical and patriotic songs including arrangements of God Bless AmericaThe Battle Hymn of the RepublicThe Star-Spangled Banner, Irving Berlin’s Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, and Walter Robinson’s Harriet Tubman.

Two major American choral works form the centerpiece of the concert: Charles Ives’s Psalm 90 (Lord, Thou has been our Dwelling Place) for choir, organ, and percussion, and the West Coast premiere of John Muehleisen’s setting of Walt Whitman’s epic poem Salut Au Monde (“Greetings to the World”)—the American poet’s timely, border-blurring homage to the universal bond between all humanity.

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 @ 8:00 pm
University Congregational United Church of Christ
4515 16th Ave Ne, Seattle, WA 98105
general seating $20 in advance, $24 at the door;
preferred seating $40 in advance

Tambuco performs The Persistence of Past Chemistries in Guadalajara, Mexico, September 21, 2018

(by Édgar Velasco)

En una de sus cartas, el filósofo Friedrich Nietzsche escribió a su confesor, Peter Gast, que “la vida sin música es sencillamente un error, una fatiga, un exilio”. Y eso mismo podría decirse de una fiesta. ¿Puede alguien imaginarse una fiesta sin música?

Por eso, para cerrar con broche de oro los festejos por sus 60 años de historia , el ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, ha preparado un festejo musical que tendrá como escenario el Auditorio Pedro Arrupe, SJ, y como protagonistas al cantante Juan Pablo Villa ya los grupos Muna Zul y Tambuco .

Ricardo Gallardo, director del ensamble de percusiones Tambuco, explica que su relación con el ITESO se remonta años atrás, ya que han ofrecido conciertos en la universidad en diferentes momentos.

Esto, dice Gallardo, “nos ha permitido mostrar a la comunidad universitaria diversos lenguajes de la música para percusiones. Nos alegra saber que el ITESO tiene un área de difusión cultural y artística muy importante y dinámica, lo que nos ha permitido desarrollar una relación artística muy saludable”.

El director del ensamble señala que la celebración va por partida doble, ya que el ITESO celebra 60 años de vida y Tambuco 25. Por esta razón, detalla, el ensamble “ha decidido hacer conciertos con repertorio importante que nos ha acompañado durante estos años, además de las obras de reciente estreno”.

Entre las piezas que se podrán escuchar durante la participación de Tambuco se encuentran “The Persistence of Past Chemistries” (1998), “El devenir de la noche” (2012), “Stone Song, Stone Dance” (2000) y “Third Construction” (1941), entre otras.

El gusto por participar en los festejos de la universidad es compartido por Juan Pablo Villa, artista vocal, compositor e intérprete mexicano que centra su obra en la improvisación vocal, la música tradicional mexicana, la canción de autor y la música de cámara.

En su caso, refiere que es “una alegría” poder sumarse a la celebración del ITESO porque “ha sido una institución que en repetidas veces ha apoyado mis proyectos”.

Al explicar la participación que tendrá en el concierto de cierre, comenta que presentará lo que describe como “parte de mi universo sonoro a través de la voz, donde confluyen improvisaciones con técnicas extendidas y un repertorio de música tradicional cardenche, pirecuas y piezas de mi autoría”.

El repertorio de Villa para esa noche incluirá piezas como “Ya se van las golondrinas”, “Mi niña lítica”, “Malva Rosura” y “Yembaguá”.

Además de estas piezas, Juan Pablo Villa también presentará unas más junto con otro ensamble que ya es conocido por la comunidad universitaria del ITESO: Muna Zul, que se describe como “tres sorprendentes mujeres que con sus voces abren las puertas de la música y, con ella, los corazones de quienes las escuchan”.

Dora Juárez Kiczkovsky explica que a ellas les encanta “celebrar cantando. Cantar y bailar es la mejor celebración siempre, para cualquier ocasión, así que estamos muy honradas de que nos inviten a su gran fiesta”.

Para esta celebración, Muna Zul presentará un repertorio de música mexicana, por lo que prepararon piezas como “Llorona”, “Serenata huasteca” y “Deja que salga la luna”, entre otras.

Además, junto con Juan Pablo Villa presentarán “Los horizontes” y “Al pie de un árbol”. Sobre esta colaboración, Juárez Kiczkovsky explica que el trabajo se dio de manera muy natural, ya que han colaborado juntos en diversas ocasiones. En la misma línea se expresa el cantante, quien señala que “el trabajo ha sido arduo y generoso, sobre todo de mucho aprendizaje”.

El concierto de clausura de los festejos por los 60 años del ITESO, a cargo de Tambuco, Muna Zul y Juan Pablo Villa, tendrá lugar el próximo 21 de septiembre, a las 19:30 horas, en el Auditorio Pedro Arrupe, SJ. La entrada es libre.

Fernwood String Quartet plays set fire to have light June 3, 2018 at Timucua in Orlando

(From The Fernwood String Quartet has been formed by players of Timucua’s own orchestra in residence, the Alterity Chamber Orchestra. The quartet focuses both on contemporary composers and on the repertoire from Joseph Haydn to the 20th century. All players – Caitlin Pequignot, Andreas Volmer, Daniel Cortes, and Hanrich Claassen – also regularly play with other orchestras across Central Florida including the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra.

The quartet will open with one of Haydn’s most popular string quartets, “The Lark,” followed by Maurice Ravel’s string quartet in F Major. Finally, the quartet will perform Charles Griffin’s quartet “Set Fire to Have Light,” an exuberant work that is influenced by Arabic melodies and rhythms. Griffin lives in Orlando, and orchestral works of his have been performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

$10-$20 suggested donation. Please bring food or wine to share.

Special exhibition of works by Don Moon