Oh, what a year!
For the first half of 2014, things were chugging along as they usually had in past years: hit or miss opportunities, slow trickle of actual writing, plenty of self doubt. But then, I came up with an idea that would electrify my career: the free commission drawing.
I literally came up with the concept in a few minutes one day in June. Instead of trying to give away my already-written music for free (an idea which really hadn’t stirred much interest in any case), I figured why not offer to compose a new piece of music for one musician free of charge? I would advertise the opportunity on social media and concurrently use the promotion as a vehicle for boosting my own social presence (you can read the original article for all the details on how it worked).
Boy, was I unprepared for what was about to hit. I was inundated with entries. So many fantastic groups and individuals applied that I couldn’t let myself squander so many potential collaborations. I decided to draw for 15 winners instead of one. After a whirlwind month of getting to know musicians all around the world, I held the drawing on the first of August. You can read the list of winners here.
So not only did I greatly expand my social reach (one of the original goals of the project) but I now had a large of number of amazing musicians who wanted to perform and record my music. My stage was (and still is) getting exponentially larger. And the project has subsequently started to attract paying commissions. I really couldn’t be happier about how this turned out.
As of the New Year, I have written three of the FCD pieces (Novacane Quartet, Dr. Brian Kauth, Duo Rodinia), and composed two pieces for other, unrelated commissions (New England Flute Orchestra, International Low Brass Trio). I am currently working on the composition for the University of Cambridge Concert Band (Cambridge, UK). When finished, I will continue the whirlwind of writing straight through to December: a selection for Ryan Addair‘s high school band in Virginia, a piece for Kevin Norton for soprano sax and piano, a work for Philippe Trovão for tenor sax and piano, a selection for Aaron Noe and his Mid Atlantic Wind Symphony, a piece for Lisa Hanson Bartholow and the woodwind quintet Peachtree Consort, a work for Chris Nadeau and his percussion duo CAn-Duo, a trio to feature Lexie Signor on trumpet, a piece for Celtic harp and flute for Chaski, a solo for vibraphone for Matthew Valenzuela, a work for Brian Wilson and his high school band in Wisconsin, and a selection featuring bassoon for Jolene Masone.
This December, I had the first of the performances when the International Low Brass Trio performed my piece “Cardiac Rhythms.” This marked the first time my music was performed outside of the upper Midwest (as far as I know).
There have been a few bittersweet developments. As I graduated from nursing school in August, I started working full time in long term care. This, in combination with the great increase in writing activity (and possibly preparing to got to med school), required me to step away from my performance commitments. I had to say goodbye to the male chorus and the drum corps. I will miss belonging to these great groups of people, but I will always have the wonderful memories and the many ways they helped shape my musicianship and leadership.
I can’t tell you all how much I’m looking forward to 2015! Many great musical moments to come! Thanks for sticking around for the ride so far!