“Stars Over Snow” Premiere + Recording

Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to hear BYU Singers perform the world premiere of “Stars Over Snow.” It was incredible. The performance was electric and the reception was very warm. I’m still buzzing from what a beautiful night it was.

by Sara Teasdale

Stars over snow,
And in the west a planet
Swinging below a star—
Look for a lovely thing and you will find it,
It is not far—
It never will be far.

Here is a recording:

Catching Up

1958372_10101432305575119_262272049425363395_n It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I figured that I should play catch up with what’s been happening, although to be honest, it’s not really all that exciting.

Apollo Men’s Chorus wrapped their two-week recording project. They spend the last four days of class working really hard, recording a bunch of their music from the last two semesters. It was great to see them all enduring to the end of the semester. It also happened to be my last time rehearsing with them as I’m not conducting them next year. Working with the men’s chorus at USC has been a great experience. They’ve worked so much and absolutely buoyed me up. I’m so proud of everything they have done. I’m going to miss working with them.

I finished my second year as a DMA student at USC. The last two weeks were pretty brutal, on top of all the other stuff to do during study days and finals week. I finished but didn’t feel much closure or satisfaction. I guess that’s how it works right? Right? On top of that, I’ve started summer classes. Not much of a break there. Oh well.

During all that, I used some frequent flyer miles to go up to Portland (the city of bridges) and hear a performance of “Pure Imagination” by BYU Singers. It was a really magical performance with lots of heart and testimony. It was also great to be able to take a bit of time off to visit with some of my best friends and explore Portland. I’ve been tremendously blessed.

10322793_10101432316952319_6422399334597777167_nMy parents came out to visit with my grandma and my aunts and uncles. They came and visited Santa Monica pier where we saw dolphins. Then we had lunch up in Palisades Park looking over the ocean. It was pretty awesome!

I flew out to Pittsburgh (also the city of bridges) to attend the wedding of another one of my best friends. It was my first time in Pennsylvania and everyone was so kind to me. The wedding was really special and touching. It was my first time in the wedding party as a groomsman. Lots of fun!

A friend invited me to Disneyland this last weekend. It was my first time in over 10 years! I forgot how much fun it is. I’m very much the person who can’t help but think about the corporation of Disney behind the whole theme park and media empire. It can sometimes ruin the experience. I tried to ignore that walking around and just let my imagination open up again. It kinda felt like being a little kid again. I’m pretty sure that I have that maturity level anyway, so it all worked out.

I’m working on some new commissions right now. Once I finish things up I’ll post them here. I’ve got about five pieces I’m working on right now, but having a difficult time finishing. Maybe if I just focus on one, the others will follow like dominos? Anyway, more to come.10374968_10101432305400469_2885089119599785029_n


“Pure Imagination” to be Published!

Okay! Contract signed, I can talk about it now! After working on getting it published for a year and a half, my arrangement of “Pure Imagination” is going to be published with Santa Barbara Music….sometime…soon (Update: “Pure Imagination” will be available August 2014). I’m actually not sure about when yet, but I’ll try and stay up to date. Once I find out, I’ll post it.

This week, both the USC Chamber Singers and the BYU Singers will be performing this piece in their respective concerts this coming weekend. USC at St. Matthew’s Church, Pacific Palasades, Friday, March 28th @ 7:30 PM; BYU Singers at the de Jong Concert Hall, Provo, Friday, March 28th @ 7:30 PM. Simultaneous concert premieres!

I’ve been enjoying my spring break away from Los Angeles, but that will be coming to an end soon as I drive back tomorrow.  All the best for now.

“Pure Imagination” Concert Premieres + Tours

Okay, I can finally talk about it now! This spring, both BYU Singers and the USC Chamber Singers will be performing “Pure Imagination” in concert. In addition, both of these ensembles will be taking this piece on their tours this year, BYU Singers to the northwest, and USC Chamber Singers to China and South Korea.

This is super exciting for me! Two world-class ensembles singing this on their tours is more than I could ask for. More news to come on this particular arrangement for sure. In the mean time, to celebrate, here’s YouTube clip of Benedict Cumberbatch singing a small snippet of “Pure Imagination.”

“Everyone Sang” Performance This Weekend

This weekend is the Fall concert of BYU Singers and BYU Concert Choir.  BYU Singers will be performing “Everyone Sang” as part of their sets.  I’m so glad that this piece gets to be performed for the fourth and fifth time now by this remarkable ensemble.  A lot of people have been saying some very kind things about this piece.  What I’m most happy about is that people from all sorts of backgrounds and levels of choral experience have told me how much they enjoy it.  I’m glad I can satisfy the amateur as well as the professional.

You should also go to hear the magnificent Concert Choir and all the wonderful things they are performing, including “O Magnum Mysterium” by both Tomas Luis de Victoria and Ola Gjeilo.  It promises to be a beautiful night.

Here’s another piece that is being performed during that concert by BYU Singers.  “O Sapientia” by Bob Chilcott performed “flash-mob-style” in the Harold B. Lee Library:

Tenebrae at Brigham Young University

Back in May, after tour with BYU Singers was over, I had the chance to attend a concert in the tiny village of Mayfield, England where I heard one of the finest performances of my life.  The ensemble performing was Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short.  In the course of that evening they performed masterpieces like “The Evening Watch” by Holst, “Funeral Ikos” by Tavener, and “Requiem” by Howells.  It was one of the most in-tune and expressive performances I’ve ever heard.  That evening, I was filled musically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

I’ve been a huge fan of theirs since I first purchased their Figure Humaine CD where they recorded choral works by Francis Poulenc. While they were performing in the “dry-as-a-bone” de Jong Concert Hall (a much less generous venue then they usually sing in), they absolutely filled the space.  It’s difficult to sing in Utah.  The high elevation, little oxygen and low humidity make it a challenge for residents, let alone visitors from a place like England.  Regardless, these incredible musicians stepped up to the plate and delivered with flying colors.

Their program was mostly Orthodox/Liturgical music from the great Russian masters, with a few contemporary pieces by Mealor and Pärt.  When I first saw how much Russian they were doing, I must admit that I was a bit let down.  I like Russian music, but I’m not exactly a die-hard fanatic.  However, the selections they chosen and the way that Nigel Short ordered and paced the program was stunning.  They made that literature compelling and riveting.  This choir performs Russian Orthodox music as if it was their own heritage.

In addition, two choirs from BYU, Concert Choir and Singers, were able to perform with Tenebrae.  It was a proud moment, as an alum of both those choirs, to see my friends singing along side my heros (well . . . they’re all my heros).  Nigel Short and Tenebrae were extremely gracious and generous to invite our choirs from BYU to join them, and our choirs were inspiring the way they rose to the occasion to perform so poised and professionally.  I was filled with pride (as well as a great deal of jealousy!).

This was their program:

Priidite, poklonimsya (All-Night Vigil) – Serge Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Great Litany (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) – Serge Rachmaninoff

The Cherubic Hymn – Serge Rachmaninoff

Blazhen muzh (All-Night Vigil) – Serge Rachmaninoff

Izhe Heruvimi, op. 9, no. 7 – Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944)

I will love thee – Vasily Kalinnikov (1866-1901)

Now Sleeps the Crimson Pedal – Paul Mealor (b. 1975)

Lady, When I behold the Roses Sprouting – Paul Mealor

Upon a Bank – Paul Mealor

A Spotless Rose – Paul Mealor

Salvator Mundi (with BYU Concert Choir) – Paul Mealor

– Intermission –

Bogoroditse Devo (with BYU Singers) – Serge Rachmaninoff

The Beatitudes – Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)

Locus iste – Paul Mealor

Ubi Caritas – Paul Mealor

Svete tihi – Pavel Chesnokov

Nÿne otpushchayeshi – Serge Rachmaninoff

Legend (The Crown of Roses) – Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Otche nash – Nikolay Kedrov (1871 – 1940)

Vzbrannoy voyevode (All-Night Vigil) – Serge Rachmaninoff

If you have the opportunity to hear them live, don’t think about it, JUST GO!  You will not regret it.  If they’re not close to you in proximity, you should purchase their recordings.  If you’re going to ACDA this spring in Dallas, they are performing two concerts.  Make them a priority.  I count down the days until their next performance.