It’s turning out to be a busy semester! I’m teaching a couple of new-to-me classes—Music Research and Bibliography for the grad students and the Symphonic Literature for both grads and undergrads. These are paired with my normal Music Entrepreneurship, the bassoon part of Woodwind Methods II, and a studio of 13 composers.
Let’s talk about performances. I’ve recently updated the calendar, here’s what’s in store!
February 13: Kelly Burns, Cassie Keogh, and Tyler Wottrich premiere my Letters to the Poetry Editor that came about from my work with the NDSU Press.
March 5-6: We’ll present Letters to the Poetry Editor at the College Music Society Central Conference in Omaha. I’ll also be presenting a paper on composer workflow.
The next weekend, March 11-12, I’ll be in Oklahoma for the College Music Society South Central Conference, where Tempest in a Teakettle will be performed.
March 24-26, I’ll be in St. Petersburg, Florida for the Contemporary Art Music Project’s CAMPGround22, where Tape Piece will be performed.
April 21-23, we’re hosting a new music festival at NDSU, including a couple of concerts as part of our Unity concert series, and then a student and faculty (that’s me!) composers’ recital on the 23rd.
May 1, the NDSU Faculty Woodwind Quintet will play Course of Empire as part of the Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra chamber series.
Oh, also at some point this semester, the New Rockford-Sheyenne High School Band will be premiering the new Steam Powered Rocket in New Rockford. I’ll update the website and the blog when I get that date.
I had some writer’s block earlier this year. After completing Shindig for horn choir, I flailed a lot from about March to August. I think part of it was the workload from taking classes and teaching a full load across two campuses. But another part of it was that I spent mid-to-late part of the semester designing, proposing, and planning a composition program at NDSU.
Our composition degree has been approved and accredited, and we started our first students this fall. And as an extension of that, I’ve joined NDSU full time.
Does the world really need another composition program?Probably not. I attended a paper this summer about the overcrowding in the composition world, and especially in the time of COVID, the opportunities seem to be dwindling.
Does the region need a composition program?Yes. Looking at professional undergraduate (Bachelor of Music) degrees, ours is the first in the Dakotas. There are four in Minnesota, one in Montana, and one in Manitoba. It gets better the further south and east one goes. But new music opportunities are, well, not numerous up here.
Of course, at many schools, students interested in composition can take composition lessons within the context of the BA or BS in Music. My intention is that having a collection of degree-seeking composers will give us the ability to do several things we wouldn’t be able to do within the context of a BA or BS, such as produce more composer opportunities and resources for the region. Things such as a new music concert series, Dakota composer residencies, a student-run music press to experiment with self-publishing, and assembling materials for high school students interested in composition.
NDSU is an interesting place to do all this. We have a named and endowed School of Music within a comprehensive STEM-focused Land Grant university, which puts us in an ideal place for both collaboration and outreach. We already have a full range of academic music programs from the BM to the DMA. Our undergraduate music curriculum already requires Music Entrepreneurship which intersects with the university’s entrepreneurship initiatives. And NDSU is already quite new music friendly, with the annual Fissinger Composition Contest, the new Pilafian Composition Contest, and regular performances of works by living composers.
So looking at the reality of the new music scene in North Dakota and what the future of music composition might be like, we’ve tried to make the degree as flexible as possible. Composers have to know a little bit of everything, so we’re having them do the same instrumental or vocal performance requirements as our BA/BS students do. Proficiency on piano, conducting, counterpoint, advanced theory, and instrumental arranging, of course. But then we’re also opening up a chunk of electives for the degree, giving students the opportunity to gain some additional specialization or marketable skills. This might include taking some of the music methods classes to learn how to play all the instruments. Or taking on a certificate or minor through the college of business, such as Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Business Administration, Management Information Systems, or Community Development. Or pursuing minors in Creative Writing, English, or Theatre Arts. Or there’s the certificate in Publishing.
The hope is to twofold: To create resources and opportunities for composers in the Dakotas, and to create a composer incubator which gives students the tools they need to be successful musicians in the region and the world.
I found out earlier today (as I was driving from Fallon to Fargo) that Earmarks has just earned me a place as a semi-finalist in the Instrumental Chamber Music division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts.
Cassie’s giving her faculty clarinet recital the next day, same time
I’ll be heading to Nashville for a performance of Creatures from the Black Bassoon and a talk on the creative process. That all takes place at the CMS Southern Conference at Vanderbilt University at the tail end of February (Feb 28-Mar 1).
And then at the beginning of April (3-4) I’ll be in Michigan at Oakland University for yet another CMS conference (Great Lakes), talking about the creative process and running the electronics for Crosswinds.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be presenting Cloud Music: Audience participation in electronic music , at the the 2019 Vu 3 Symposium in Park City, Utah!
Cloud Music is a work for audience participation and cloud computing. Audience members load a website on their mobile device, specify values, and then submit those values to a web server. The web server is periodically polled by a Max patch, which uses the user-specified data to launch Cloud sprites, which then drift across the screen. If a user specifies that a cloud should be a thunder cloud, it reacts with other thunder clouds.
Cloud Music is the first proof of concept in an ongoing project to unify audience participation, cloud computing, and interactive performance.
The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF) is always a fun time with great music and incredible people. This year they’re hosting the International Computer Music Conference as well, and I’m pleased to announce that Tempest in a Teakettle, which I presented there in 2017, will be returning to the program for this year as well.
I am pleased to inform you that your work: REVERIE OF SOLITUDEwas selected for the third edition of Diffrazioni – Firenze Multimedia Festival – March 26-31, 2019 sound, light, art, technology, neuroscience, nanotechnology, robotics.
When I started blogging like nine years ago, I started a blog with WordPress. As I built Liszt up and tried to do everything in-house, I moved the entire blog to Liszt. After working to streamline Liszt as much as possible, there’s not much need for a blog function. And also Liszt didn’t have fantastic image capabilities for blog posts, and I really want to start posting pictures of my cat.
Late last year, I launched OpenKyle, which was an experiment based on Austin Kleon's Show Your Work. It was a lot of fun, and it kept me motivated to push updates every day to YouTube while I worked on a saxophone and tape piece titled Austerity.
And then, I moved to the tape piece The Earth Shall Soon Dissolve Like Snow. And that got harder to update, as I'm on a limited SoundCloud account.
And then 2018 came, and the projects this year have been more collaborative, and it's not just my work that I'd be publishing online. So with that in mind, I'll be merging OpenKyle with the regular blog, and working to update this with more work-related things soon.