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!!