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Welcome new members from England, Ireland, Australia and more!
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Just back from my tour of England and Ireland. This Sunday giving the "universe premiere" of my concerto. And this August off to a three week tour of Australia. I am so thankful for these opportunities! Details below.
OUT OF THIS WORLD is the title of the Staten Island Philharmonic's concert this Sunday and in that spirit they are calling our debut of "The Conqueror" the universe premiere! (See the image below.)
My many years of cello composing and performing come to fruition in this full-fledged orchestral work based on Mongolian style melodies synthesized with rock cello style. The piece is loosely based on the life of Genghis Khan - reviled in the West but a hero in Mongolia. His methods were violent but his goal was lofty - the unification of the warring tribes of Mongolia, and eventually the unification of the whole world. You can hear this theme in the music. I sat down to compose this concerto as the awesome and horrible Hurricane Sandy began, and worked steadily throughout the storm. You can almost feel the swirling wind and rain and the sense of dread. The thought that this might be my last composition was ever-present in my mind!
I am thrilled to be giving the premiere with such a fine orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alex Guzman. He has shown great enthusiasm for the work. Please come to witness the premiere of what I hope will become a new addition to the standard concerto repertoire!
FIRST STOP ENGLAND - A LEGEND IS BORN!
My trip to England began with the world premiere of "Legends of Cellandia" with the London Cello Society orchestra at the Royal Academy of Music. (See the picture below.) I want to thank Selma Gokcen for commissioning the piece and giving me this amazing opportunity. I'd also like to thank cellist Helen Neilson for sitting in on bass, and, of course, cellist Leandro Silvera for his inimitable triangle playing! Thanks also to D'Addario Strings for furnishing me with my own "officlal" Von Cello "celtar" picks, which the strumming cellists used in the premiere and which I passed out to cellists around the British Isles.
Another highlight was a recital I gave in Duke's Hall that included some pieces from my just published "Pop Goes the Cello" (OUP). I also gave masterclasses and workshops at some of England's top schools: Royal Grammar School, Highgate School, Harrow School, and the Oxfordshire Music Service, as well as private lessons at the home, so graciously offered, of legendary cello teacher, Wendy Max.
SECOND STOP IRELAND - ALL ABOARD!
The Ireland trip began at the Cork School of Music where I conducted intermediate students in the world premiere of "All Aboard!" - an arrangement of "The Train Whistle" etude. Later I gave a workshop with senior students in which we created a beautiful improvisation on a traditional Irish theme. Thanks to Joan Scannell for this opportunity.
The final stop was Dublin, where I gave the world premiere of the full, "Pop Goes the Cello" at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Other highlights included a workshop with young instrumentalists including an Irish harp, and performance of "All Aboard!" with advanced students. I was also interviewed for the Royal Irish Academy of Music Teaching Network by Miriam Roycroft, who arranged the Irish leg of the trip. Here Miriam questions me on some of the techniques in The Train Whistle: https://twitter.com/OUPMusic/status/468401989576323072
Below: at the Royal Irish Academy checking out a poster with a photo that some of you may recognize from the back cover of Von Cello Rules!
NEXT STOP AUSTRALIA
On the horizon is a three week tour of Australia courtesy of AUSTA, the Australian String Teachers Association! There is a lot of excitement already being generated as emails go flying back and forth between me and folks from cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Hobart. More details in the summer newsletter... or if you are from Australia - the winter newsletter!
THE MISSING LINK
For ticket information for the Out of this World concert, click here:
West Virginia University, March 25th - faculty violist, Andrea Houde, performed my "Truckin' Through the South" from Three American Pieces for Viola:
And if you enjoy thinking about music, here is an interesting collection of interviews with members of Local 802 - the musician's union of New York City. The subject was the future of classical music. Guess who got the last word?
The Grateful Dead used to sing, "I sure don't know what I'm goin' for, but I'm gonna go for it for sure." And, for sure, I am going for it! (And so should you.)