Seven years ago today, I finished my first “symphony.” It wasn’t really a symphony in the literal sense of the word, but I didn’t know any better at the time. It was a three-minute piece for my high school band, which I completed at the age of 17 right before my senior year of high school. I was entirely self-taught at this point. I’d figured out the ranges of all the instruments by asking my friends and looking it up online, made all sorts of color-coded charts about which instrument should play which part, and holed myself up in my tiny bedroom with my little silver Casio for hours.
I timidly gave it to my band director when it was finished, who was gracious enough to look it over, and even more gracious to have the band perform it at our winter concert. It was one of the best moments of my entire high school experience. (This piece isn’t on my website because, as you can imagine, it could use some re-editing work. You can listen to my high school band perform it here…and yes, that’s me on the first trumpet part…)
Now I’m back in my hometown after finishing my master’s in composition, and I have the immense privilege of writing another piece for the Clarke Community High School Concert Band. It’s like I’ve gone full circle, and it’s amazing and humbling to find myself in the same place again after seven years and three college degrees. I’m blown away by how much my teachers have believed in me along the way, and I continue to be blown away now.
I plan to call the piece “Unexpected Connections,” which is especially meaningful given the circumstances surrounding its creation. It features many surprising harmonic and stylistic shifts, but two melodies recur throughout and unify the piece. (I’m also excited about introducing high-schoolers to my favorite chromatic chord: the Neapolitan!) I’m looking forward to finishing it and then hearing it come to life in the place where my love for music came to life. More details to come about a performance date!
[August 23, 2012]