Recently I’ve been hard at work on my piece for Fireworks called “Hyper Lassus” that’s going to be premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival on July 2nd. I have to have the entire thing finished, including score and parts by May 31st (and I started it on May 10th), and even though I have a love/hate relationship with tight deadlines, the piece is actually coming very nicely. I’ve listened to as much of the group’s recordings as I could, and they definitely have a direction towards lighter, more entertaining pieces, which is cool because I’m in the mood to do just that sort of thing. Nothing too “serious”, but at the same time I don’t want to write a piece of fluff (which I feel I could never let myself do anyway). The piece is essentially for rock band, and I’m writing a rock “piece”. It’s definitely treading a fine line, and at many moments in the piece it’s really hard to say exactly what it is – is it concert music – is it rock – pop – metal – jazz? I think if just one person thinks this to themselves, I’ve succeeded with this piece on a certain level.

I’m actually taking some of that desire from the guest composer-in-residence that I’ll be working closely with, Osvaldo Golijov. His “Pasión Segun San Marcos” does just that – it’s really an impossibility to classify the piece into one specific genre, and I absolutely love music like that – I hope to achieve this with mine. I know that the first time I heard the piece, I was saying “What IS this???” the entire time – I want someone to say that about “Hyper Lassus” – hehe. Writing this piece produces a special feeling in me. I came into music school, in 1996 as a rock musician, and now, in my last year of school ten years later, I’m writing for rock band again, but this time with a world of experience and knowledge that I didn’t have before.

I’ve also decided to do my doctoral composition recital in October, which leaves me with a lot of music to write this summer. In addition to “Hyper Lassus”, I’m writing a new song cycle for guitarist Daniel Bolshoy and mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, of which I have already completed one and a half songs (but had to stop to work on the rock band piece), and then I WILL complete this cimbalom and theorbo duet for John Astaire and Kevin Kishimoto that’s been swimming around in my head for at least a year. After those are complete, I plan to write one more piano hommage – an Hommage to Mandy Morris. So, the projected program should look like this:

Hommages for Piano
Soliloquy for Fallen Leaves
Unrequited Pop Songs
Colors In Silence
Hyper Lassus

That’s about an hour of music, which is plenty. Hopefully the next few weeks will go as smoothly for “Hyper Lassus” as it’s been going. I’m excited about it – FINALLY I get to rock out again!