Before I began the 2018-19 academic year - my 25th at Bellarmine University - I decided to jump on the early retirement train. Teaching has been incredibly rewarding. My students inspire me, they keep me on my game, and I’ve met scores of inspiring people in the music industry, many of whom have become dear and life-long friends. I can without hesitation say that my years in academia, as a student and a teacher, have contributed the most to my career and success as a composer. This spring I will be on sabbatical and then I will return for one more year. The next chapter starts on May 15, 2020.
One of my favorite Renaissance “gems” is The Silver Swan by Orlando Gibbons. It’s fun to sing, beautiful and moving to listen to, and a great study resource for theory and composition students. It has long been a fantasy of mine to set this text and I’m thrilled to have done it for Nic Cummins and the Northwestern State University Chamber Choir. They’ll premiere it on October 29 at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I was sure to subtly pay homage to Orlando in my setting. I never grow tired of hearing that piece.
It’s ACDA official – I have two new octavos being premiered and another being performed at the conference in Kansas City. Justin Miller and the Westminster Chorus will premiere Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child – written for them of course, and Philip Brown and the Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs/Treble Choir will premiere Everyone Sang, also written specifically for them. Jeff Johnson included Dedication in the Men’s Honor Choir program. If you’re there, you might find me at the Hal Leonard and National Concerts booths.
March 29 & 30 at the American Cathedral of Paris. I’m over-the-moon excited to have written this 45-minute work for my friends The Paris Choral Society and The American Cathedral Choir and Youth Choir. Ironically, the director of these groups, Zach Ullery, is a Kentucky native and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. But we never met in the states. Through mutual friends we became acquainted through social media and immediately began to brainstorm about a collaboration. And now it’s happening. The piece is scored for the three combined choirs (each getting a little of their own limelight), strings, 3 trombones and clarinet. I’ll be in Paris the last two weeks in January to attend a few rehearsals, then back for the month of March. If you’re traveling somewhere close by, please let me know!