I had the great privilege to be one of the judges, this past weekend, for the Urbana Pops Orchestra’s First Annual Student Composition Contest. Junior High, High School, and College students from the Champaign-Urbana (IL) area were invited to submit original compositions – written for orchestra – to be considered for a premiere by the UPO at their space-themed concert, “That’s No Moon!”. We had three excellent submissions in the Junior category, carefully scrutinized by my fellow judge, LA-based composer Kyle de Tarnowsky, and me. The winner, “Cold Moonlight,” was written by 16-year-old University High School student Daniel Stelzer, and given its premiere, between Holst’s Planets Suite and John Williams’ suite from Star Wars, this past Saturday. Not bad company for your first premiere! His lyrical, evocative piece was a lovely contrast to the other pieces on the program, and a remarkable work for a young composer. We were so pleased with this experience, and we’re looking very forward to see what the talented young composers in the Champaign-Urbana area bring to us for next year’s contest. Again, congratulations, Daniel!
On a personal note, I got sing in the choir on “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars Episode I, which – with the full orchestra – was exhilarating. Thanks to the UPO for asking me to join them for that. Getting to be a part of a big ensemble executing this legendary film music gave me a renewed appreciation for the power, complexity, and brilliance of this music, and the importance of live music, both in film and in our lives. Bravo to the UPO, and we’ll see you very soon.
My first-year graduate student Steven Spiel conducted a very nice interview with me for the Columbia College graduate blog. You ever wondered about my life story? Here it is – in a really small nutshell, with several periods omitted. Ha! Enjoy! Pictures by Gabriel Dib.
As many of you know, I had a little pop project going on in NYC between 2003 and 2007. It was called Cellardoor. We put out three albums (all are on iTunes and Bandcamp) that I recorded in my bedroom in Brooklyn (dear Rugby Road!). I got to work with some amazing musicians, including Ami, John Carlin, Soren Anders, Jennifer Houseal, Alden Terry, Tim Keiper, Jeremy Clayton, Micah Bucey, Paul Kolecki, and Jennifer Bechtel, and it was truly a lo-fi labor of love. Revisiting it today, I was reminded of what a lovely creative time that was. Here’s a link to the newly remastered edition of “i didn’t get the memo”, at a low, low price!
The wonderful feature film, “Scary Normal”, written and directed by my dear friend and frequent collaborator Jennifer Bechtel, is getting ready for its world premiere at the Midwest Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender Ally College Conference in Lansing, MI on February 9th, 2013. I was so thrilled to work on this film, and especially thrilled that I got to create a unique sonic palette for the film in conjunction with Associate Music Producer Gabriel Dib. We took a selection of pots and pans from my kitchen, along with some other household objects we purchased at Home Depot, and spent a couple of days banging on them with mallets, brushes, and wooden spoons. We then chopped up the samples and used them to create Kontakt and EXS instruments, to be used liberally throughout the film. We also sampled an open-tuned acoustic guitar being played with snare brushes, and threw in some other quirky sounds to create a sound we felt married perfectly with the milieu of the characters. You can hear some excerpts from the score right here!
My second outing with the Dorkumentary gang is a hysterical, goth-tinged affair. I’m right back to my roots! Check it out, and spread the word!
Here is my lovely (and dorky, because I’m a dork) interview with Michelle from The Doctor Who Podcast, discussing my work on Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles – The Wanderer.
You can get a digital or physical copy of The Wanderer here.
Thanks so much to everyone in the campervan, and to Richard Dinnick for recording a nice intro to the episode!
Looking forward to meeting you guys at the TARDIS-Con next month!
Thanks to the great folks at Space Jockey Reviews for this review of Fate Accompli. Nice mention of the score 2/3s down the page. Check it out!
I’m pleased to announce that my music was selected to appear in the first half of the trailer for Gus Van Sant’s new film, “Promised Land”. Big thanks to Jonathan Parks at ALIBI Music. Enjoy!
I’ll be the guest speaker at the Songsalive! Workshop on Septermber 8th, at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago.
I’m looking really forward to being a part of this event. If you’d like to participate, you can get all of the information at their blog.
Participants share some of their own work for discussion with the group, followed by a presentation from an industry professional.
Should be a blast!
Hope to see you there.
I’m not one to promote that many crowdsourcing campaigns, but Mark Harris and his incredible team have put together a remarkable event that is coming up on its second year. The Englewood community, on the South Side of Chicago, has been plagued with violence for years. This film festival strives to facilitate change — creating a neighborhood where children and families can safely grow and thrive. The film festival is crowd-sourcing its funding, and they could really use your help. If you are so inclined, please consider giving a donation at their indie-gogo site, linked below. This incredible event can only be made possible with the help of the greater community. Thanks so much.