It’s a very busy next couple of weeks, here, at BPB! Here’s the scoop:
- Love Taps, the full-length tap opera that I originally wrote, with Chicago Tap Theatre Artistic Director Mark Yonally, in 2010 is being remounted next week. With a new script by poetry slam creator Marc Kelly Smith, and a live on-stage band playing the brand new arrangements, it’s going to be a really exciting show. The audience gets to be a dating website, to choose a different second act every night! Running March 14, 15, 21, & 22 at 8m, and March 17 & 23 at 3pm. Stage 773. 1225 W. Belmont. Go here for tickets!
- Outer Voices is a brand-new vocal group – founded by composers Kenn Kumpf and Robert Reinhart – dedicated to the performance of obscure one-per-part vocal repertoire from before 1750 and after 1950. I’m really thrilled and quite humbled to be performing with this group in their debut concert on Sunday, March 16th, at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. It’s a free concert, and suitable for all ages. We would love to see you there.
- At the beginning of February, I had the pleasure of heading out to LA to work on the final sound mix of Alex & Ali, the highly-anticipated documentary that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years. Director Malachi Leopold, Associate Music Producer Gabriel Dib, and I had the incredible honor of working with legendary sound mixer Geoffrey Rubay (Basic Instinct, The Fifth Element, Serenity) at Sony Studios in Culver City, and the results are nothing short of stunning. We’re looking very forward to sharing this film with you later this year! Special thanks to the BPB team, Jordan Lewis, Brittany Dunton, and Logan Stahley, who worked incredibly hard to get this thing in the can.
- As if the beginning of this year wasn’t crowded enough, I just completed work on the scores for two amazing short films; Bowes Academy - the operatic tale of a young man’s efforts to get into a prestigious boarding school (with a secret), and Safe Word - a disturbing comedic exploration of one couple’s forays into the world of role playing. Both feature large orchestral scores; one is a cinematic John Williams-esque epic and the other is a Kubrickian texturalist fantasy. We’ll be recording with brass players and putting on the finishing touches over the next couple of weeks. You will want to see these.
- Scary Normal, our little indie film that could, will be screening at the True Colors Conference in Connecticut later this month, and in the Golden Egg Film Festival in Cancun, Mexico in May.
- Coming up later this year: A new Dorkumentary, the rest of Trep Life Season 2, the short films The Photographist and Angle of Incidence, the pilot for the new UK TV series, Light & Shadows, and some other big projects that I can’t talk about yet.
I’m incredibly pleased to announce that Love Taps is once again hitting the stage here in Chicago, in the spring of 2014. Originally conceived by Chicago Tap Theatre Artistic Director Mark Yonally and me in 2010, Love Taps introduces you to a cast of lonely urban dwellers, and then invites the audience to play match-making website. Every night the choices are the same, but the endings can change, based on what the audience chooses.
The original score featured lyrics from a number of poets, lyricists, and writers, but – for the new version – we’ve pared all of the songs down to their instrumental roots. The new arrangements – created by music director Kurt Schweitz, my associate Jordan Lewis, and myself – will be performed by a small ensemble of multi-instrumentalists – guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, mandolin, and accordion – live on stage at every performance. The script – or bible – for Love Taps has been beautifully rewritten by Marc Kelly Smith (creator of the poetry slam), and will feature some new music written especially for the revamped version of the show.
Starting March 14th at Stage 773, we hope to see you there!
Here is some music from the original to whet your whistle.
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!