New Interpretations, Volume 1
I've never felt like an established composer, though I guess at this point I've been writing for about a decade. I started out determined to write a cycle I could premiere on my senior voice recital at Hartt, and once I was in Cantus, there were too many opportunities to try out new styles and texts for what Cantus needed. Now that I've been around a little bit, some of my pieces have taken off in the last few years, which is exciting.
What's REALLY exciting is seeing how these pieces' interpretations have also taken off. One of my pieces, Miniyama Nayo, focuses on the pleasures of singing nonsense music. The goal of it was to combine my own harmonic interests (4 rubbing against 3, like, all the time, along with open voicings moving in parallel motion) with my obsession with Mäntyjarvi's Pseudo-Yoik and the textures in Tormis' music. Now that it's been out there following Will McLean and the South Salem Choir's FANTASTIC initial interpretation at the 2016 OSAA Competition, there's a good trend and a bad trend happening IMHO. The bad is that the cutoffs and general feel is less groovy and more white-washed, whereas my performance notes were to really aim for an earthy feel, leading all cutoffs to their full duration. Meh, 1st world problems. But the good is that people are feeling comfortable enough with it, having heard it in various forms on Youtube, Soundcloud, and in real life, that they're making it their own tempo-wise. Take the University of Memphis Chamber Choir's rendition on Soundcloud. It's insanely fast at times, and that's ok. It's insanely exciting too.
Here's another one from Soundcloud, a rendition of my collaborative work with Thad Fiscella, Hope and Quietly Wait. Tim Schmidt and the National Lutheran Choir commissioned and premiered this work, and since then it's had a few performances with the wonderful Tom Trenney and others. But this interpretation by the BW Motet Choir is just heart-rendingly beautiful, even by NLC's impeccable standards.
Lastly, The Houston Men's Choir did an awesome job with my arrangement of Yonder Come Day, and while it's certainly slower than I'm used to, it's beautifully sung and full of energy and conviction. Can't really ask for anything more, now can I?