05 December 2009

To Boise and Back: A Premier

As a composer, it is
always great fun doing a "runout" somewhere to hear a performance of your music. If your performance is taking place at a university, it is not uncommon to spend time meeting with composition students, talk a little music, and give some feedback on their compositions. I have even been asked by some music departments to go into the local high schools to put on performances and talk about composing, and my experiences working with choreographers and dance companies. This past week I flew out to Boise for a premier of a new work by the Rothko Piano Trio titled Trio for the Common Man. What made this trip especially great is that I got to work with my friend, violinist Jo Nardolillo, for whom I wrote Suite for Jules for violin and violoncello a couple of years ago. I met Jo while we were enduring a rather tenuous doctoral seminar in post-tonal theory. We were both trying to negotiate the rigors of la vie quotidienne, while working feverishly on trying to finish our degrees.

Me with cellist Brian Hodges on the "Smurf Turf"
My runout to Boise State University was a short, but amazing trip. I flew out Wednesday evening, spent 33.5 hours in Boise (the only reason I know that is because the cellist in the Rothko Trio—Brian Hodges—told me he figured out the math,) and returned back home. The players were not only stellar musicians, but wonderful human beings. It is rare that I can walk into a rehearsal with any ensemble and immediately feel comfortable. It usually take a little period of unpacking each others language and understanding just what you are trying to get out of the music.
The Rothko Trio almost had an intuitive sense of the rhetoric of the piece before I worked with them. I had a great premier performance. I need to rewrite a couple of things after I finish the commission from the Society for New Music.

With the Rothko Trio: Jo Nardolillo,
Brian Hodges, Betsi Hodges
The only negative part of my trip was that I felt really under the weather from the moment I left for Boise, and I was neither motivated, nor had the time for any exercise while I was there. I tried to keep the fluid intake pretty steady throughout the day. It was agonizing to see everyone running and biking along the Boise river on a beautiful, crisp winter day and know that I did not have the energy to take part. Hopefully I can convince them to have me out again. When I left my scores with Boise State faculty composer Wallis Bratt, I told him that I will have to come back to talk about this music. I will keep my fingers crossed!

Next Up: Finish Commission from Society for New Music: A piano concerto with a March 1 deadline!

My workout itinerary: Hit it hard this week and get serious miles in the pool, bike and run.

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