At this point, apologizing for not updating has become redundant. I am apparently not very good at talking about myself on a regular basis.
Having said that… (to quote a favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episode…) http://youtu.be/vhyGlGgXMxY
Lots of cool things have happened, and will be coming up for me, so maybe lets call this an “end of summer” update. Im currently in the best place in the entire world.
Its been a great, active summer for me in Rochester. Probably the most exciting music project has been working with Wendy Eisenberg. Shes a great guitarist, who is sadly ending her sentence in Rochester and heading off to the New England Conservatory to study in their Contemporary Improvisation program. Wendy has been a sub in Bending and Breaking, and was also a member of Normal People from its inception. She has a unique voice as a musician, and it comes from her varied interest in different kinds of music, literature and life experiences. I have always liked Wendys approach, and have enjoyed watching her become more and more fearless as a musician. The culmination of her time in Rochester has led to two different projects, both of which are exciting, high quality and fun. Im lucky to be part of both.
Her “jazz” band, Earth Science, was formed to play on her senior Eastman recital, but continued beyond that. I am by FAR the old dude in the band, working with the venerable 18 year olds Andrew Links, Brandon Choi and Tyrone Allen. The band recorded an album, and I am very very excited to hear the results. We also played at a music festival where a crazy dude stormed the stage and demanded “permission to speak”. It was terrifying.
Her “rock” band, unnamed as of this post, was a recording based project that later played live. Wendy had several tunes ready to go, and we recorded with Ben Morey in his Rochester studio. I was impressed by the simplicity of the music, and its ability to say a lot with a little. It was a lot of fun to work on this music for me because its been so long since Ive done anything like it. This recording is also going to be an album and its equally exciting to anticipate.
I was lucky to be able to teach some great students at Hochstein School of Music and Dance this summer as part of my “Explorations in Jazz” program, as well as Dave Chisholm’s “School of Rock”. I conducted the pit and played drums at JCC Centerstage for their productions of Young Frankenstein and Hairspray, both of which were consistently sold out and consistently great performances from the cast, crew and orchestra. I spend a weekend in May in Central Pennsylvania (actually, where I happen to be writing this post from) with Scatter Percussion at the 6th Annual West Shore Day of Percussion. We premiered two of my new pieces for chamber percussion: “I Am a Strange Loop” and “Peace Bridge”.
The biggest news moving forward is that my call for scores blew up completely (in a good way) and I received close to 30 submissions for my “Solo Drum Solo” project. Many of them are great, as well as challenging. I am very excited to officially announce that I will premier a number of these new works at the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. I will play concerts at Bernunzios Uptown Music on September 21 and 22, each at 6:30pm. I did a preview concert at behest of Chris Teal and the Institute for Creative Music, and it was incredibly fun. I have some video that Im working on, but its not cooperating so far. Hopefully I can get some of that up soon. I can not wait for people to hear brand new pieces from some great composers, including Jen Bellor and Ivan Trevino!
Beyond that, I am excited to teach elementary school band this fall in the Greece Central Schools. It will be a chance of pace (yet again) but will be nice to go back to instrumental music after teaching 4 years of general music. I continue to work hard with my private studio as well, and still have openings (if anyones looking…) I am already booked to conduct two musicals in the upcoming season, and hope to make at least one new recording and debut one new set of music for each of my bands (eventually). Theres lots going on, and that’s without mentioning all the very exciting things happening in my personal life!
To close, I think we should throw it back to the original spirit of this section of the website. Striving to be happy. Some things I have recently enjoyed that Id recommend checking out are:
-the music of Jeff Buckley, especially beyond “Grace”. Posthumously released stuff is really really sweet.
-Tops Bakery’s “Doissants”. Like a cronut (remember that craze?) but with cream filling. For real, though.
-Hanging with great friends, a wonderful family and my incredible wife.
-Hardwood floors. I installed 3 rooms worth in my house and I love the results.
-Austin, Texas. New home to some of my best friends, the Trevinos. We visited/moved them in June. It’s a cool place, and I hope I get to go back. I had a fantastic taco.
-Soccer. World Cup was exciting, but I still really enjoy soccer. Im excited to watch the English Premier League start up in a week. Buffalo Bills also looking pretty good in the American version of football. THIS IS THE YEAR FOR THE BILLS (copyright 1998-2014)
I hope that this finds you well, and hope that we can be in touch in the future. I look forward to bringing new music to your ears very soon, so stay tuned!