Brave New Works to record Salvation at OSU Residency

As part of an ensemble residency at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, the Michigan-based Brave New Works will be recording my new piano trio, Salvation, during their reading of new works on January 12, 2011.

Now I finally get to know what OSU's campus really looks like!

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The 2010 Annual Evaluation

Every December 27 I spend the day in reflection and compile an annual report, a “State of Kyle Vanderburg” if you will. I certainly will. Let’s do this.



It is ridiculous to think that I completed half of my master’s degree this year, but that’s really what I did (well, half of the coursework anyway). Besides my usual composition lessons I also took wonderfully delightful classes like Analysis of Twentieth-Century Music, Development of Tonality, Pedagogy of Music Theory, and Music in the Classical Period. Of course, the degree isn’t only about the coursework, but also about navigating the insane bureaucracy that comes with a graduate degree, and to that end I completed some very important paperwork such as titling my thesis and selecting a committee. I am now capable of saying I will be writing a thesis titled Tempest for Band that I will defend in front of a committee consisting of Marvin Lamb, DMA, Ken Stephenson, Ph.D., and Frank Riddick, Ph.D. I will commence freaking out after the new year.

Of course, the thesis coming up indicates an end to my master’s degree. This year was filled with research into different doctoral programs, and after much deliberation I applied to the following schools: University of Kansas, University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, and University of Oklahoma. I will be updating the blog as I learn more.


This year I completed seven works, nearly as many as I completed in my entire undergraduate career. They are, in order of composition: Postscript to Friday (brass quintet), Unknown Precipitation (percussion ensemble), Realms of Endless Day (flute choir), a set of Piano Miniatures (piano), Under the Oklahoma Sky (piano), Salvation (piano trio), and Writer’s Block (flute). Unknown Precipitation was a result of a commission by the Norman High School and the Oklahoma Composer’s Association while Realms of Endless day was commissioned by the OU Flute Ensemble. These compositions show a more deliberate attempt to create a personal style, and I have discovered some underlying themes that I enjoy writing. Unknown Precipitation and Under the Oklahoma Sky explore weather phenomenon and nature, Realms of Endless Day and Under the Oklahoma Sky use American hymn-tunes as melodic material, and Realms of Endless Day and Salvation exhibit a “reverse deconstruction” approach to melodic material.

I had several works premiered and performed this year. Pipe Dreams was performed by the Kansas State University percussion ensemble in Manhattan, Kansas, Postscript to Friday was premiered as part of the Spring OU Composers Recital, Realms of Endless Day was premiered by the OU Flute Ensemble under the direction of Tara Burnett, Unknown Precipitation was premiered by the Norman High School percussion ensemble in Norman, Oklahoma, and Under the Oklahoma Sky was premiered by Jennifer Tripi as part of the Fall OU Composers Recital. In addition, Accessible Contemporary Music in Chicago, Illinois has decided to perform Foi dans l’aleatoire as part of their weekly reading series at a later date.

In 2010, I attended the Self-Employment in the Arts OzArts conference and the Society of Composers International Region VI conference in March, the Society for Ethnomusicology Southern Plains conference in April, the International Double Reed Society conference in June, and a Deep Listening workshop in August.

While I did elect to continue studying composition under Marvin Lamb, I happened to have the opportunity to study with three guest composers this year. I had a lesson with David Maslanka while composing Unknown Precipitation, and I had lessons with Chris Brubeck and Eric V. Hachikian while composing Salvation.

I ultimately came to the decision over the summer that Vandemalioa, my publishing company, was impossible to pronounce, ridiculous to spell, and absolutely unmarketable (I originally chose Vandemalioa because my first choice, Vandermusik, was already taken). After some time contemplating something that would be easier to brand, I happened across the idea of NoteForge, quickly altered my ASCAP arrangements, registered another business in Missouri, and designed a new website. NoteForge quickly took over all of my business arrangements, including the Blink! composer management system, which became the NoteForge Hammer Music Management System. It was originally my intention to develop Hammer as a commercial service, but those plans have been put on hold indefinitely.

In addition to the expected composing that a composer does, part of a composer’s success is branding/name recognition. NoteForge helps present a unified image, but the bulk of my web presence is located at To build a stronger presence, I installed a custom URL shortening service at and recoded Blink!/Hammer to create and use human-readable URLs.


2010 was great, I accomplished quite a bit, and I started refining my compositional style. But looking back on 2010 forces me to look forward to 2011. This year threw me some surprises, and I’m hoping that next year will do the same. I know that I will be in Norman for the first half of the year, finishing the Thesis, but after that? I don’t know. I do know that I will be focusing my artistic and commercial efforts toward writing quality music. I’ll be using my other activities (such as web design and coding) primarily to promote these ventures. And, as always, “It is the mission of Kyle Vanderburg to consistently provide the best of all possible results, services, and projects regardless of venue or avenue; to have a firm understanding of the creative process in its entirety from conception to production and to continually keep as much of that process in-house as possible except when other ventures provide a better service more efficiently than is capable by internal means; to work unceasingly to improve all areas over which I have control; and in the event of success, to love unconditionally, to forgive unconditionally, and to serve unconditionally, for to do otherwise is inadequate. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”

Happy New Year, y’all.


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So it looks like I'm going to the CMS South Central regional conference in Arkansas in March. Full email below:

Dear Prof. Vanderburg: [ha!]

Congratulations on your score, “Foi dans l'aleatoire,” being accepted for the upcoming sccms [South Central chapter of the College Music Society] meeting on March 3-5, 2011, at UALR [University of Arkansas-Little Rock]. More information on the meeting (accommodations, directions, schedule etc.) will be sent to you soon. The performance is contingent on you registering for and attending the conference. Please contact me with any questions. Looking forward to seeing you in Little Rock in March. Best–Rolf Groesbeck (sccms program committee, 2011).

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The quick pre-Thanksgiving update.

Several things, in no particular order:

There's a new piano miniature over at Listen –

I think I've decided on the instrumentation of my thesis –

A rudimentary version of NoteForge Hammer has been created –

That's all for today!

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Breathing at last – Kinda

Despite the ridiculous amount of thoughts swimming in my head at the moment, I'll try to keep this update fairly short.

Under the Oklahoma Sky was performed ridiculously well by the perpetually-talented Jennifer Tripi this past Saturday here at OU. Audio is up at and on the work's page at

Salvation for piano trio is finished and printed, and all I need to do now is find people willing to play it. The current audio file online at is weird, I'll try to get a better one posted sometime tomorrow.

Doctoral applications are done and portfolios are mailed!

And with that update, I'll see you all on the other side of all the homework I need to do this week.


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Establishing Order

“Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous” -Yehudi Menuhin

As I mentioned in my last wildly-popular blog entry, I was working on a piano trio that explored Chaos coming into Order. Well, now I have Chaos, I have Order, I have part of a transition, and as soon as I write the rest of the transition, it will be DONE. (I'm posting an MP3 of the current version on my Facebook page very shortly!)

Having this piece nearly finished means that I'll get to include it with my Doctoral Application Portfolio later this month. Which is both exciting and terrifying, as that process begins very soon (as in, Sunday).

Meanwhile, I have been talking with Jacob Robinson and Steven Eiler about the possibility of creating a commercially viable Composer/Songwriter/Band management system based on Blink (which currently powers and The new system will be named NoteForge Hammer, and we hope to begin alpha-testing in Spring 2011.

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Forging Chaos

“Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.” –Henry Miller

With classes in full swing and the looming deadlines of doctoral program applications and coursework and life, I suppose it might be a good time to actually start composing. Imagine that!

Under the Oklahoma Sky is finished, ready to be performed in mid-November and then sent out into the world to have a life of its own. I like it. It's definitely one of my favorites. It will be included in my doctoral application portfolio, along with Realms of Endless Day, Notes of Daybreak (probably), and something new.

That something new is proving to be different. It's a piano trio that explores the thought of chaos coming into order. Now, writing order isn't difficult, most music has some semblance of order. Chaos, however, is proving to be an adventure. To give you a preview, here's the score and audio of the first 90 seconds:

So that's what I'm doing with my life right now. With any luck I'll have all of this finished in time to submit it to the Fifth Floor Collective's call for scores, but I'm not holding my breath.

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This really makes me wonder who writes spam messages…

I received this wonderful piece of literature in my inbox this morning, with the subject of “Video: Medicare: The $60 Billion Fraud”

Cuba's leaders lay out details for layoffs Home buying up in week, but down 40 percent in year I am afraid of this man Aylesbury, said Paul Harley. We sat in the deserted dining room. I had contributed my account of the evenings happenings, Dr. Rolleston had made his report, and Inspector Aylesbury was now examining the servants in the library. Harley and I had obtained his official permission to withdraw, and the physician was visiting Madame de Staemer, who lay in a state of utter prostration. I mean that he will presently make some tragic blunder. Good God, Knox, to think that this man had sought my aid, and that I stood by idly whilst he walked out to his death. I shall never forgive myself. He banged the table with his fist. Even now that these unknown fiends have achieved their object, I am helpless, helpless. There was not a wisp of smoke to guide me, Knox, and one man cannot search a county. As well ask where the shot came from, Knox. Out amongst all those trees, with a house that might have been built for a sounding-board, who could presume to say where either came from? Harry held up his hand to show that they were ready, having before he did so chosen a stone round which to wind the lariats. The other boat was then launched. Sam and Ben took their places astern and began to paddle against the stream. As they were in the back-water below the ledge of rock they were able to keep her stationary while Jerry took his place and got out his paddle. When all were ready, they paddled her out from the back-water. As soon as the current caught her she flew past the cliff like an arrow, although the three men were now paddling at the top of their speed. Harry and the chief pulled in the rope hand over hand, while Hunting Dog and Tom went a short way down the rocks. The check of the bow had caused the stern to swerve out, and when they again checked her she was several lengths below them with her head inclined to shore. More and more strain was put on the ropes, until they were as taut as iron bars. Avec sa bravoure, son genie militaire et politique, et ses cinquante ans, il netait encore, a louverture de la revolution, quun brillant aventurier.Cependant il avait conserve le feu et la hardiesse de la jeunesse. Des quune guerre ou une revolution souvrait, il faisait des plans, les adressait a tous les partis, pret a agir pour tous, pourvu quil put agir. Il setait ainsi habitue a ne faire aucun cas de la nature dune cause; mais quoique trop depourvu de conviction, il etait genereux, sensible, et capable dattachement, sinon pour les principes, du moins pour les personnes. Cependant avec son esprit si gracieux, si prompt, si vaste, son courage tour a tour calme ou impetueux, il etait admirable pour servir, mais incapable de dominer. Il navait ni la dignite dune conviction profonde, ni la fierte dune volonte despotique, et il ne pouvait commander qua des soldats.

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Norman Transcript runs story on OCA/Kyle Vanderburg

Link to story:

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What I did over summer vacation.

I probably haven't written one of these since grade school. Sure, I've been known to publish “The State of Kyle Vanderburg” at the end of the year, but those are generally really long and really boring. This won't be really long.

Let's face it, it was summer, I slacked off. I took three hours of classes in July (Development of Tonality), worked on contacting doctoral programs, and started thinking about going paperless for the next academic year.

I spent a week in Missouri in mid-June visiting friends and family, and a couple of days annoying Amy Seibert in Illinois. I started working as webmaster/designer/social media authority for the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy at the beginning of June, where I'll probably stay until I leave OU. I spent a lot of time on the top floor of Sarkeys Energy Center, which has some spectacular views. I traveled to Springfield a couple of times for weddings and to annoy the Drury Jazz Camp faculty. My parents visited Norman in early August, and dad and I refinished this chair.

With no active commissions, I spent the beginning of summer working on a new eleven-minute work for solo piano (I’m waiting for composition-lesson approval before posting it to the catalog, but Jennifer Tripi helped with quite a bit of editing) that is set to premiere in mid-November. I received word earlier this month that my work for flute and piano, Foi dans l'aléatoire is set to be read by the Chicago-based Accessible Contemporary Music sometime next month. I also finally decided to buy a decent electric piano, because the MIDI-Controller-through-computer setup was getting annoying.

Most of the summer was spent doing non-compositional-yet-professional things. I took a serious look at my web presence and branding, and made some significant changes. Due to the way I originally started my publishing company I was stuck with a Missouri business entity (Vandermusik) and a differently-named ASCAP publisher (Vandemalioa). Vandemalioa is completely unpronounceable, unspellable, and largely unmarketable, and so with some business-voodoo I started the new publishing company NoteForge.

Of course, a new company means a new website, and with that in mind I completely rewrote and streamlined all 6600 lines of code that make up the backend of my website system (a ridiculous thing called BLINK). BLINK powers most of the text-based content for,, and I also removed most of the subdomains of (except, and built and installed some really fun things like the VanDerBurG ( Twitter Application, a Content Delivery Network to speed up page loading times, several system tools through KyleV.Net, The Everything megablog, and the Collabtive project management system. So really, lots of under-the-hood tweaking that involves no noticeable design changes, but speeds up website loading, website updating, and my workflow.

Plans for the fall involve a work for solo flute and other fun and awesome things that I'll announce when things are less busy and more normal. Or vice-versa.

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Kyle Vanderburg