The next Composer Spotlight for our October 20th collaborative concert with the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra features MCI composer Josh Trentadue and his new suite "Four Ethereal Planes." This piece will feature fellow MCI composer Kevin Day joining HCJO as guest artist on piano, keyboard synthesizer, and Hammond Organ.
Learn more about Trentadue's new work in the video below. A full transcript for this Spotlight (and MCI composer Janay Maisano's Spotlight) will be published in the coming weeks.
---UPDATED DECEMBER 28, 2020 W/ VIDEO TRANSCRIPT---
We are excited to share with you the first Composer Spotlight for our October 20th collaborative concert with the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra! Learn more about MCI composer Janay Maisano's work for this group entitled "Birdy Banter" in the video below. A full transcript for this Spotlight (and for MCI composer Josh Trentadue's Spotlight) will be published in the coming weeks.
Hi! My name is Janay Maisano and I am the composer for the piece Birdy Banter, and I'll be answering a few questions about the piece!
I'm a composer who prefers to go more based off motives in my writing, and so the very first melody you hear in the piece (in the trumpets) - [sings the melody] - that's actually the fingering for it (at least, on the piano) is based off a nervous tick I have with my hands that goes "1, 4, 2, 5, 3," and it's something I do for fun, in a way, but also just to help relax myself, because if I do it well, I feel somewhat pleased. So, that's where the first initial melody came from, and the other major melody in the piece, which shows up about halfway through [sings the melody] - that's somewhat inspired by one of my favorite soundtracks, which is composed by a man named Grant Kirkhope. And it's for a video game series, actually, titled Banjo & Kazooie. And then, based off of those two simple ideas, the piece just grew and flourished and became something that I'm able to enjoy, and my mentality is that if I'm able to enjoy it, then everyone can find something to enjoy!
For me, my compositions tend to be a bit more abstract - at least, when they're in the making - but the title, Birdy Banter, was actually inspired by my three beloved birds who - when I was listening back to the piece - it sounded a lot like their varied squawking! It's kind of sometimes very pleasant and playful and interesting. Sometimes, it's a bit louder and a bit more obnoxious, and it's just inevitable. And, the conception for the piece - no matter how you think of it - it's just meant to be something enjoyable and fun and maybe make you just swing or sway a little.
As [an] undergrad composer who has been composing for just a little over four years now - I started back when I was 16, and I am now 20, so it's been a few years, but - this is the first time I've actually composed for such a large ensemble! So, that was already a bit daunting at first. And, I've never written a piece more than about 6 minutes, so the timeframe was also a bit terrifying and overwhelming. That already, in itself, was a huge challenge - just wrapping my mind around the whole concept of... it's just a lot. But, it was also just a challenge to make sure that I had enough, but it was still interesting and good and, ideally, fun to play. That's something I prioritize as a composer - that, if the performers don't enjoy themselves, then what's the point? So, I would say that was the biggest challenge.
I hope that [audiences] genuinely enjoy it! I hope they genuinely have fun, or feel some kind of pleasant emotion, and they finish listening to the piece and just smile and feel good, even if it's just for a brief moment, because we all need that sometimes in our life.
[Collaborating with the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra] has been very beneficial in allowing me to expand my skills as a composer. The fact [that] I've just written the longest piece and largest piece I've ever had to write, and to have the opportunity to have it played, is wonderful. And, the rewarding part comes from the fact that this is such a highly qualified group who stands for wonderful things. So, to have them play something [of mine] and to do it well - it just means the world to me as a composer!
On Sunday, April 28th, the world premiere of MCI composer Duncan Petersen-Jones's new string quartet "Conflicting Emotions" will be given by the Converge String Quartet. The concert will be taking place at the University of Michigan.
Read on to learn more about the inspirations which drove the composer to create this new work:
Describe your inspiration for composing the piece.
The inspiration for each of the three movements in this string quartet is of a different emotion. The first movement is "Bewilderment", which is essentially about being overwhelmed, as if trying to take a breath of air and not being able to. The second movement is "Isolating Loneliness", which is about being truly alone with the feeling the there is nobody you can rely on. The third movement is "Rigid Egos", which is about egos that are so strong that they battle everything until it crashes at the end.
What are some of the challenges you faced in writing the work?
While there were several challenges I faced, I can't say any of them without spoiling the surprise of the piece.
Is there anything specific about your piece that you'd like your audience to look out for?
A music video is being made of this string quartet, so keep an eye out for it!
What do you hope your audience ultimately take away the most from hearing your work?
I hope people will get the feelings that this piece is trying to relay, and I hope that they not only enjoy the music, but also think more about the emotions that they feel from it.
COMPOSER SPOTLIGHT: DANIEL DE TOGNI, "SING ME INTO SINGING" AND "ITERATIONS: 4 PIECES FOR NARRATOR, OBOE, AND PIANO"
This week will see the world premieres of two new compositions by MCI composer Daniel de Togni. "Sing Me Into Singing" will be premiered at the San Fransisco Conservatory of Music on Wednesday April 24th, while "Iterations: 4 Pieces for Narrator, Oboe, and Piano" will make its debut on Friday April 26th at the University of Central Arkansas. The latter piece, as well as another work by the composer titled "BEAT," will also be performed at Rad Sol 2019, a concert series founded by de Togni which aims to promote and perform concert music by composers in Arkansas.
We had the opportunity to speak with the composer about both of his new works. Read on to learn more about the inspirations that compelled him to create this new music:
Next week, on April 23rd, sees the debut of MCI composer Janay Maisano's original score for the student short film "Menage a Trois" at the University of Redlands. The score features a trio of musicians whose instrumentation consists of ukulele, alto saxophone, and piano. Maisano also served as conductor for the recording sessions of her music.
Read on to learn more about her process for creating this score:
MCI began as a group of five composers before quickly expanding to 13. As of today, we have grown to an initiative of 37 members, representing more composers from various backgrounds of all kinds of music.
We are excited to announce the results of our Call for Composers!! Please join us in welcoming the newest members of MCI:
MCI is also excited to announce that our board has expanded to the following roles:
Josh Trentadue [President]
Duncan Petersen-Jones [Vice President, Treasurer]
Kevin Day [Marketing Specialist]
Helen Hé [Music Technology Specialist]
Congratulations to all, and thank you to everyone who submitted an application to us this year! Starting this week, we will be introducing our new members through featured posts.
---UPDATED DECEMBER 28, 2020 W/ VIDEO TRANSCRIPT---
It's Midwest Clinic week!! We're so excited to meet all of you who will be attending this year's conference.
This Thursday at 1pm, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wind Symphony will be giving the world premiere of MCI composer Harrison J. Collins's "O rose of May," a brand-new work for concert band that was commissioned as part of a joint consortium with fellow MCI composers Caleb Hammer and Josh Trentadue. Watch below to learn more about Harrison's new piece, and be sure to check out the concert later this week!
Hi! My name is Harrison J. Collins; I am the composer of O rose of May, a new work for wind ensemble that will be performed in just a few days at The Midwest Clinic by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony, conducted by the one and only Alex Kaminsky. I’m very excited for the performance!
I’m very proud of the work - it’s inspired by “Hamlet,” the Shakespearean play, and the music is kind of a meditation on Ophelia and how she could be a very happy character removed from the sad stuff of this play, but, through no action of her own, is dragged through the conflict and unfortunately meets a very dark fate because of it… it’s fun stuff!
So, I really wanted to capture the thrill and emotion of that journey, and write a work that was worthy of representing Shakespeare’s art. I hope that my listeners will pick up on it and really get the thrill of the work and feel how gripping it is, and perhaps (if they have not already) be curious to go read “Hamlet” for themselves.
I want to give a quick shout-out to everybody that has supported this piece - I’m very grateful for them. [To] everyone who’s joined in the consortium, I can’t thank them enough. I also have to thank Caleb Hammer and Josh Trentadue for being a part of this consortium with me; I think it was a very fun thing to do and I’m grateful for the opportunity. And, of course, my thanks goes out to every single member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony for bringing this piece to life, and to Alex Kaminsky for conducting it.
I’m very excited for the concert! I hope you’ll be there, and if you are, I hope that you enjoy the work!