• The Music of The Beatles

    Did you know that Ringo Starr is left-handed, or wonder how that might affect his drumming style? Ever wonder who wrote more Beatles songs – Paul or John? Or who wrote the Beatles song based solely on a circus poster? All the above are topics for discussion in the course, The Music of The Beatles, which I will be teaching again for the Butler County Community College (BC3). We will be studying the music of the Beatles across their 13 albums from 1963 to 1970 exploring the group’s writing style and creative approach to recording. Classes will be held on…

  • On the Passing of Robert Page

    Three men contributed to my development as a singer and choral conductor; John Elliott, my high school choir director, Elmer Thomas, my college choir director, and Robert Page. With the recent passing of Bob, they’ve all left us now. Bob’s influence on me as a singer and composer of choral music cannot be quantified. I spent ten seasons singing for Bob in the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. For all but my first season, I was a member of the professional core and for my last season, was privileged to be one of his conducting assistants. For several years, I was…

  • Discovering Wild and Wonderful Jazz

    When asked to name their favorite kind of music, many folks will say they listen to mostly one kind; be it country, hip hop, hard rock, rap, etc. I, and most of my musician friends and acquaintances will tell you we listen to many different styles of music and our current favorite changes often, frequently triggered by a chance hearing of some new piece of music in concert or, as in my case in many instances, on TV. My recording collection is pretty eclectic: it contains classical music from the Renaissance to the avant-garde, lots of choral music of all…

  • PSO – J.S. Bach: St. John Passion

    Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra March 6, 2016 J.S. Bach: St. John Passion Manfred Honeck, conductor Sam Helfrich, director Vocalists: Martin Lattke, Paul Armin Edelmann, Sunhae Im, Andrey Nemzer, Thomas Cooley, Lucas Meachem, Alexander Elliott, Jeffrey Klefstad, Amelia D’Arcy, Jonathan MacDonald The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – the classical music triumvirate, the original killer B’s. I have been a huge fan of J.S. Bach’s music since I had the opportunity to sing his B Minor Mass as an undergraduate music student in Cincinnati. Universally acknowledged as a genius, his music is not programmed by symphony orchestras as much…

  • On the Passing of David Stock

    It’s that time in my life when one by one, the teachers, musicians and friends who influenced me most are starting to pass away. Some time ago, my undergraduate composition teacher, Dr. T. Scott Huston passed. More recently, in 2014, my high school choral director, Jack Elliott passed, and the choral composer I admire most, Stephen Paulus, succumbed to the effects of a stroke and left us. Yesterday (November 2, 2015), David Stock, my graduate composition teacher unexpectedly passed, as well. When I enrolled at Duquesne to begin my Masters degree in 2007 at the age of 56, I had…

  • PSO – Conrad Tao: Pángu

    Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra November 1, 2015 Tao: Pángu Gershwin: Concerto in F major for Piano and Orchestra Strauss: Symphonia Domestica Conrad Tao: Pángu When I select PSO concerts each season to include in my subscription, as a composer, I naturally focus on concerts that include contemporary works. And so my primary interest in this concert was Conrad Tao’s Pángu. Pángu is a short, concert overture length work (7 minutes) for full orchestra. The composer’s program notes first relate the Chinese creation myth of Pángu and then proceed to detail how the composition reflects various aspects of the myth. Pángu is…

  • Casablanca

    Casablanca Released: January 23, 1943 Michael Curtiz, director Max Steiner, composer I’m embarrassed to say that, until the PSO presented it on February 15th, I had not seen the movie Casablanca. I understood well that it is a classic; among the finest movies created, but while I love movies, most of my collection is post-2000. I am a huge fan of film scores, however, and am actually in the process of developing a continuing education course on the history of film scores. So when I received an email from the PSO announcing that they would be presenting Casablanca at Heinz Hall with…

  • Symphonies

    Wolfgang  Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter” (1788) Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 (1812) Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 (1883) Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 “Titan” (1888) Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 (1937) William Schuman: Symphony No. 3 (1941) Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements (1945) Alan Hovaness: Symphony No. 2 “Mysterious Mountain” (1955) Philip Glass: Symphony No. 2 (1994) Christopher Theofanidis: Symphony No. 1 (2009) (Posted 01/01/2015)

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