Celebration (Taken with Instagram)
The world premiere of Mountain City, performed by the University of Utah Wind Ensemble, cond. Scott Hagen
Performing this gorgeous opera this weekend (Taken with instagram)
I’ve been doing more writing lately, even if it’s for academic reasons, so I figured, why not post it somewhere at least a few people will see it. This is a bio I wrote for the University of Utah Clarinet Quartet for our live broadcast this July at KBYU radio in Provo, UT, and for our performance at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest this August in Lincoln, Nebraska.
(P.S., tonight is the night of the premiere of my piece for wind ensemble, MountainCity!!!! I’m very excited.)
The University of Utah Clarinet Quartet is a premier chamber group comprised of the best undergraduate and graduate clarinetists from the University. The quartet placed third in the First Annual Utah Chamber Music Competition in 2011, and performed on its winners’ concert. The quartet recently played in a masterclass for Donald Oehler at Utah’s Clarinet Festival at Utah State University to an enthusiastic response, and was invited to perform for a live broadcast at Utah’s leading classical music station, Classical 89 on July 17, 2012. The quartet’s members pride themselves on their high level of musicianship and camaraderie. Founded by Henry Cáceres and Kattiusca Marín, both Chilean-born, with Salt Lake City native bass clarinetist Nick Morandi, the quartet performs music in various genres and styles, including orchestral transcriptions, standard repertoire, new music, and music from Latin-American composers.
I recently finished (in March 2012) a 10-minute work for wind ensemble entitled Mountain City. It is being premiered April 12, 2012, at 7:30 PM at Libby Gardner Concert Hall in David Gardner Hall at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
(all that’s for posterity or whatever)
What follows are the program notes I’ve written. What will be printed in the program is a shorter version of this that takes out some of the less interesting details (and the allusions to my life and struggle growing up surrounded by the dominant faith in Utah). These notes, however, are the “official” notes or what-have-you, and will be printed in the final version of the score.
I will post a recording of the piece once I have a polished sound file to upload, probably to SoundCloud. Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy these notes, and then that the audience on Thursday enjoys the piece and the notes, and then that you enjoy the piece here. Or something like that.
Mountain City was a labor of love, written from March 2011 to March 2012. The long gestation was due both to my lack of experience in writing for this many instruments (the piece requires, at minimum, around 40 performers) and my struggle to work with a formal structure that is larger in scale than anything I’ve produced to this point. As I wrote, the piece seemed to take on a life of its own that strongly resembled that of the city in which I was born and raised, Salt Lake City.
The music grows from two contrasting ideas presented in the introductory section: the dissonant chord presented by the clarinets at the outset; and the more consonant “dominant seventh” figure played by the trombones shortly after, coupled with the rising melody played by solo woodwinds. To me, these dualities perfectly represent Salt Lake City—the “Mountain City”—a city that is rural and dominated by faith (the consonant, folk-like melody); yet also urban, with a thriving nightlife and liberal arts scene (the dissonant, jazzy music). The rest of the piece (and, one might say, my life) consists of a struggle between these two ideas, culminating (and perhaps here the similarities to my life stop) in a perhaps reluctant joining of the two harmonies.
The work is dedicated to Scott Hagen and the University of Utah Wind Ensemble, who all have my undying gratitude for their support and musicianship during my four years at the University of Utah; as well as to Miguel Chuaqui and Morris Rosenzweig, my composition teachers at the U, for their guidance, support, talent, and frankness in the face of naivete; and finally, to my parents Roger and Kari Morandi, for being all that a son could wish for and more.
Join the revolution (Taken with instagram)
I’m now listed on the Occupy Musicians page in support of the Occupy movement. You can be too!
Never forget the three thousand men, women and children who died ten years ago; those in the World Trade Center towers and on AA Flight 11 and UA Flight 175; those in the Pentagon and on board AA Flight 77; the brave passengers of UA Flight 93 who diverted the attack intended for Washington, D.C., giving their own lives for others; and the sacrifices the first responders and our troops have made and continue to make, so that we don’t have to.
Never forget that those attacks were carried out not by Muslims, but by violent radicals with closed minds who thought the only way they could change the world was through violence, and who were misled and misguided by those they trusted to lead them to a better world.
Never forget that Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing to do with the attacks, but were chosen as political targets, ignoring the human and economic costs of prolonged war.
Never forget that we should not live in an America where hatred of others supersedes basic human kindness and goodwill; in an America that allows torture and indefinite detainment without charge in places like Guantanamo Bay and overseas secret prisons, which remain open to this day; in an America in which monolithic corporations are considered people and have unprecedented sway over politics and the fate of the world’s economy.
Never forget that supporting your country’s troops does not have to mean supporting what they fight for.
Never forget to keep living.
Never forget what America stands for: liberty for all, justice for all, happiness for all, and, above everything, freedom.
And never forget that we should not have to say “never forget” about any of these things.
I don’t like to treat Tumblr like Twitter, even though I have a funny thought every now and then that takes longer to explain than the room I am given on Twitter.
So you won’t see a lot of one-shot jokes here or whatever.
However, I do want to post here more often. I’ve been really busy with summer semester, but that all ends tomorrow so you can expect a little bit more activity here.
I will be going back to practicing clarinet (after too long of a break) and composing (same), and I hope to write some music-related posts and maybe even offer some sneak-peaks of my “big” project that I’m working on.
It’s a piece for wind ensemble. I’m writing it for the University of Utah Wind Ensemble, of which I am a member (have been for 3 years), and I’m hoping I’ll at least get a read-through of it come this fall, and maybe even a chance to revise and get a performance. If I do, that could be a pretty big break, we’ve only done a student piece once since I’ve been there, and read through another.
Negotiating performances or commissions is rough for any composer, let alone one who has few finished pieces and little credibility outside the U. So I’m looking forward to that opportunity.
After that I’m planning on writing a piece for the clarinet quartet I play in, I think that would be really fun, and a welcomed change of pace after thinking in a much larger soundworld for such a long time.
I’m hoping to get more followers here, but of course, I’m not really “out there” as a composer. … Guess I’ll have to change that! The next few years are going to be a lot of hard work of composing, practicing clarinet, and shameless self-promotion, but I think I have something to say, so I’m going to get out there.
(And those of you who are reading this first can say you were fans from the beginning.)
(Indie cred, yo)