Safe and Sound!!
I have arrived safe and sound in Paris! I am writing this a few days after I have actually arrived, but it doesn't matter. I am here! This is such an amazing city and the few people I have met from the Institute are smart, funny, and good to be around. I can't wait to really dive in and explore the Boulanger technique. Again, if you want to really hear more about the day to day happenings while I am in Paris, please visit my blog page A Oui Bit of Paris with wordpress. Or you can follow the link in the previous post here!
I wanted to take a moment and just thank all those you have donated either through my GoFundMe account or private donations. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Paul Novak, Tom Pfister, Ceil Tilney, The Miller Family, Steve Wilke, Barbara Shaw, Lindsey Short, Jonathan Kelley, Susan Swetnam, Scott and Nancy Engle, Susan and Dwayne Haakenson, Becky Crockett, John Dupaquier, and the wonderful people at Trinity Episcopal Church. I would also like to thank Dr. Dinos Constantinides for his letter of recommendation and encouragement to apply. Dr. Todd Queen, the Dean of the School of Music and Dramatic Arts, for helping me receive a travel grant. My mother for encouraging me to pursue music as a future. My wonderful in-laws for allowing my wife and kids to stay with them while I am away. And last, but certainly not least, my amazing wife that, even though she knew the money would be tight and times would be a little rough for a while, to apply and participate. She is always my rock and is always supporting me and all my dreams! Je t'aime!!
Thank you all, and I can't wait to begin!!
Let the Countdown Begin!!
Hello all!! I want to thank you for visiting my site and exploring. I hope you enjoyed your time and were able to find something that you enjoyed! My goal is that my music will inspire you or, at least, will be something that you will want to listen to again.
I wanted to write today to inform everyone of a few developments. I only have 6 days now before I leave for the Nadia Boulanger Institute and I am so excited! I cannot wait to learn from these great professors and teachers, to be in the beautiful city of Paris for an entire month, to eat the amazing food, to meet my roommate (it has been almost a decade since I have had a roommate that wasn't a spouse), and to hear some amazing music! My roommate will be a young man from NYU and I have spoken with a few of the other composers going. They all seem very young, but excited about this opportunity. I am sure I will learn a lot from them all! I try to never pigeon hole myself as the oldest or the youngest or many other factors because you can always learn something from other people if you just have the right mindset.
I held a concert on the 11th at Trinity Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that was also a fundraiser type of event. There wasn't a charge of admission but any donation was greatly accepted. Unfortunately, the stormy weather that we had that day kept most of the people away, but the few that did brave the storm were wonderfully receptive to all the music and very encouraging! It was a concert filled with music that was either inspired by France, composed by a French composer, or we could imagine being inspired by France. 99% of the composers on the concert with French, including Ravel, Satie, Debussy, Chopin, and Saint-Saens. It also included some Sibelius, and Villa-Lobos. I was so incredibly thankful to be joined on the stage by my dear friend Luciano Correa. He is an amazing cellist and a wonderful composer himself. While he was the featured melodic instrument for the concert, I did perform Chopin's 15th Prelude, "The Rain Drop", while the rain fell down outside. It was a beautiful few minutes. We also performed one of my newest pieces, Lamentation for Cello and Piano, and it was warmly received by the audience.
I am currently in Houston preparing to fly out on Tuesday. My in-laws have welcomed us to their place and, to be honest, we feared the Tropical Storm Cindy might intensify while we were still in Baton Rouge, thus making it hard or impossible to make it to Houston for my flights. But this gives us about 6 days together as a family and time to enjoy the less-humid heat of Houston.
I have also started a blog where I will talk about my trip to Paris and the events of the day, week, or whatever might have happened. If you are interested in reading up on my trip to Paris and the Nadia Boulanger Institute, please follow the link (at the bottom of this post) to my blog and press the follow button. (I am also thinking of making it a blog just for musical happenings in my life but I have not decided.)
Well, thank you all for coming here! I will be posting a list of all the donor for Paris in the next few days, so a special thank you to those wonderful and amazing people!
Hello all visitors and faithful followers!! I recently posted that I was accepted to the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in the beautiful and historic town of Duino, Italy. Unfortunately, we found out at the same time that a family member had just been confirmed to have Cancer. I canceled my plans with Italy and settled into the idea of making numerous trips to Houston and Memphis to see family. Fortunately, the wonderful people at the Music Festival understood my situation and we were able to work out a refund. But then we received some wonderful news. My presence would not be completely necessary at all times and the cancer was diagnosed as a highly treatable variety. Then, I received even better news. I had been accepted to the infamous Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris, France. Not only had I been accepted but I had received a scholarship that covered half of my tuition costs. So, it is with great humility and honor that I am announcing that I will be departing America in late June to participate in this institute for the month of July.
So far I have received an amazing amount of support for my trip. Not only have I received a travel grant from Louisiana State University thanks to the wonderful work of Dr. Todd Queen (Dean of Music and Dramatic Arts), but a few donations from Dr. Tom Pfister, Ciel Tielney, and my good friend Paul Novak (currently studying at Rice University). But I am still in need of any more financial help that anyone can give me. So please, click on this link, donate, or just mention it to any friends, co-workers, family, or anyone that might be willing to help me achieve this goal.
Thank you so much for all of my friends and family helping me. I am so thankful for the unending support that I have received from my amazing wife. Thank you again and I will post updates as we get closer and while I am in Paris. https://www.gofundme.com/help-bill-go-to-eama-in-paris
Hello all! Thank you so much again for reading or visiting my page, and Welcome to any newcomers. I have yet another big bit of news! I am so honored and blessed to have been accepted to the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy! This will include nearly a month in the beautiful and quant town of Duino on the Northeast edge of the Adriatic Sea! I will be able to participate in composition lessons with acclaimed international faculty, masterclasses with great guest composers, and study Italian. We will also take small trips to nearby Trieste, Italy, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. During my time at the festival, I will write a brand new piece that will be performed in Duino, and possibly, Slovenia. This is such an amazing opportunity and I can't wait for my flights! But I need your help! I have started a GoFundMe. Anything you donate will be greatly appreciated and, depending on the amount, you will receive a free gift. Even if you cannot donate, please share the link so that someone else might be able to help. Again, thank you so very much for your support!! Please visit my GoFundMe site at: www.gofundme.com/help-send-bill-to-imfa
End of the Beginning!
About a week ago was the last day of classes for my first semester of my Ph.D. in Music Composition at Louisiana State Unversity. It has been an amazing experience! The campus is so hurge and so beautiful. I have made some amazing friends in not just the composition program but in many other programs. I have really enjoyed the material that I have studied. I only took three classes this semester but there was a lot of reading homework. One class I took was Music and Text offered by Dr. Jeffrey Perry. He is a brilliant man and the class was so informative. We studied the vast expanse of music with text starting with Purcell and ending with some of the newest material offered from Glass, Crumb, and Cage. The other class I took (besides lessons) was Analysis of Tonal Music instructed by Dr. Daniel Shanahan. He was a really engaging instructor and so willing to offer help, insight, and perspective on papers, topics, and pushed the class to think outside of the their boxes. I really enjoyed this class and learned a massive amount about analysis and the ambiguity of music.
The last class I had was composition lesson. Dr. Dinos Constantinides is a brilliant composer! We began by studying The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives and immitating that style of writing. From there we went on to studying melodic writing with Strauss and Beethoven. I composed a full string quartet for this genre that will be premiered in January 2017. Then we went to study atonal music with Schoenberg and Webern. From this I composed my 5 Works for Cello and Piano that was premiered near the end of the semester. Beginning in January, Dr. Constantinides and I will be working on a Symphony. I am very excited about this venture! I have already been inspired and wrote a 1st movement and a slow movement. I am not sure if I will be writing a 3 or 4 movement symphony but I look forward to the future.
Aside from school, I have been working at LSU Catering. The co-workers are hilarious and very fun to work with, and my managers have been so supportive and so easy to work with. During the football games I was able to work in the famed Bill Lawton Room at the LSU Stadium. While LSU football didn't have the greatest season, it was amazing to meet Ronnie Halliburton from the Denver Broncos and Karl Malone from the Utah Jazz. They were both very warm to a older fan.
Baton Rouge has been an adventure. We moved here in July and started the climatizing. Unfortunately, within a week of moving to Baton Rouge, the rains started. Within the next few days, the waters were quickly overflowing the shores of the lakes and bayous around us. We were luckily spared from the flooding but many families, students, and the families of friends were affected by the rain. One friend told me his father had 7 feet of water in his house. It is December now, and while my son and I were out shopping we found ourselves in a neighborhood that was nearly empty. There were still piles of garbage on the side of the road and windows were missing. FEMA trailers were still positioned around the homes of people that want to live near their home and still work on it. These poor people need help. Luckily, it is not nearly as hot and humid as it was a few months ago.
Well, I am eager to start my spring semester and look forward to some big news to be revealed in the future!!
BUSY TIME OF THE YEAR!!
First, I am so excited to announce that I am now an ASCAP artist! I am so honored to be apart of this association.
Secondly, I have had some wonderful performances this semester. From the premier of Carolino's Nightmare with the University of Nevada, Reno, Orchestra, a wonderful performance of The Holodomor for the College of Liberal Arts Graduate Symposium by Joshua White on C trumpet, and the premiers of two pieces by soloists from the Artemisia Chamber Ensemble. This semester will end on a wonderful high note with the premier of my woodwind quintet by the North Star Chamber Players on May 1 and May 12, and my piece, Sleep, for the Artemisia Chamber Ensemble on May 14.
On May 14th, not only will it be the premier of Sleep but I will be graduating with my masters of music in composition. I am very happy and humbled to be able to be able to walk across that stage and receive my degree with the support of my professors, family, and friends.
And finally, for this entry of my blog, I have accepted an assistantship to study at LSU for my PhD in music composition. I will be studying under Dr. Dinos Constantinides and will be receiving a stipend to work under this wonderful man. I know that this will be a very prosperous and fruitful collaboration! We will be moving to Baton Rouge in June and, hopefully, we will have a place to stay before we arrive.
Thank you so much for everyone that is following this blog, my posts, my music, sharing performances, and for being there to support my dreams! Without you all, none of this would be possible.
When I had started my last semester of my masters, I had hoped it would be a rather easy going semester so I could concentrate on my doctorate applications, my course work, and teaching my theory class. Luckily, and unfortunately, life has its own path for each of us to take. After being selected as the winner of the UNR Composition Competition, I received an email from a man needing music for a commercial he was putting together for his own degree, I was contacted by a good friend to write some music for his upcoming film, and I had to keep my obligations to the Artemisia Chamber Ensemble. For the latter I composed a piece for the majority of the ensemble and vocalist. Based on the poem Sleep by Eduard Moerike, it focuses on the last few stages of being awake before falling asleep. I also included a brand new solo violin piece that I composed for my friend J Adam Gus Weaver for their smaller "Coffee Shop Series" of concerts. The film music is a little trickier, not just because it is one of the first times that I have had to write a piece to film, but also because I am feeling rather blocked when it comes to writing the music. And finally, the commercial music was rather simple. Just 90 seconds for an inspirational piece and a piece to depict fear. Luckily, the man loves the music! And if these obligations weren't enough, there were rehearsals with the UNR Wind Ensemble as they prepare for the North West College Band Directors National Association Convention coming in March and a rehearsal with Eric Whitacre (more on that to come in the coming week) in which I am playing piano. But I also wanted to post a picture of the poster showing the UNR Honors Concert! I was able to attend a few rehearsals and the orchestra is doing a wonderful job! This concert will be a great concert not just for me but for my friend Ben Prima and the orchestra. I am very excited and cannot wait to post about the responses following the concert!
I am so honored to announce that my piece, Carolino's Nightmare, was selected as the winner of the University of Nevada-Reno Composition Competition! After working on the piece on and off for about a year, it is a great feeling for the piece to be selected to be premiered with the winners of the Concerto Competition, which includes my good friend and college, Ben Prima. I hope to be able to post a recording of the performance of Carolino's Nightmare on this page, but it will be available through my Soundcloud page and on my Facebook Artist page. I just recently finished editing and sending the parts and getting the score formalized for the conductor. I am very excited of this opportunity to work with an orchestra and to learn from the amazing conductor, Dr. Jason Altieri. If you are in the Reno area, please come out to the performance on March 1st, 2016, in Nightingale Concert Hall on the University of Nevada campus and hear the orchestra, the soloists, and Carolino's Nightmare!
It was announced today that, along with my good friends Tim Chatwood and Paul Novak, that I am a composer-in-residence for the Artemisia Chamber Ensemble. The Artemisia Chamber Ensemble is the premier ensemble in the Reno, NV, area that is comprised completely of high school students. All of whom have held a position of concert master or first chair and have very impressive resumes. There will be three concerts this next semester with the earliest being in January. For the January concert there will be the premier of my Piano Quintet! Then there will be two more concerts every six weeks or so that will have premiers of brand new compositions specifically for the players of the ensemble. I am very excited and honored to be selected as one of the composer-in-residence and I look forward to a very happy and fruitful future with the ensemble! Please check out their website: http://artemisiachamberensemble.weebly.com and explore the musicians and my fellow composers.
So much to be thankful for!
First off, I would like to thank you for visiting my site. Music, especially composition, has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Even before I started taking formal piano lessons, I would sit with some piano sheet music, listen to a recordings, and follow along noting exciting and interesting events in the music. Once I started to get an education in music theory I felt as if I was receiving the keys to the mysterious kingdom of composition. My influences have been Mahler, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Penderecki, Foo Fighters, and many others from various musical genres.
Secondly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. It was almost a year ago that I launched this website and I can't believe the responses that I have already received. This site, coupled with my Facebook page, have attracted a lot of attention. I was recently a multiple featured member of the Society of Composers, Inc., site and this lead to a possible agreement with a recording company. I hope to raise the funds to put this together!
Thirdly, it has been an amazing year here in Reno, Nevada. My family and I have quickly fallen in love with this amazing city, the people that we have met, and the wonderfully supportive musical environment that thrives in this city; not just in the jazz field but for the student composers and the performance opportunities that they can receive. I strongly encourage anyone looking to get a masters or bachelors degree in music composition to look at the University of Nevada, Reno. The faculty are so supportive and welcome to new pieces. I am not sure if there is a place that is more welcoming to new compositions than the University of Nevada.
Fourthly, I would like to thank everyone for their support, comments, and encouragement. Without you, this would be an even harder experience. I would also like to thank my family and especially my wife. Without her patience, encouragement, and steadfastness, I would not be where I am today.
Finally, there are some amazing premier performances coming this next month. On December 6th, there will be the premier of my brass quintet piece, When the Mountains Touch the Sky, premiered by the Manzanita Brass Quintet. Later that night will be a double premier of my electronic piece, Death is Nothing At All, and my marimba and violin duet, Ich trauma Liebeslieder, during the Composers Concert in the University of Nevada, Reno, Nightingale Concert Hall. There are some exciting things happening next year. Plus, I will start to hear back from doctoral programs this spring. Keep your fingers crossed and your wishes warm. Thank you all again.