December 2, 2004
Well, as expected, the ASU wind symphony gave an absolutely fantastic performance of “Redline Tango.” I’m totally spoiled now. FSU, followed by ASU just two weeks later…
The whole group did even better than they had done at the two rehearsals I heard prior to the concert. The soprano sax player really let loose tonight, and the hi-hat player totally held the whole groove together throughout. Gary Hill was a joy to watch conduct. The piece is, as far as I can tell, really difficult to conduct, requiring a lot of concentration to make all of the meter changes (generally one every bar) happen effectively. Gary is so familiar with the piece that he looks like he’s actually having a blast conducting it, dancing along with the performance. He was smiling, making sure everybody nailed every entrance, looking almost like he was just gleefully dancing along to this crazy mixed-metered dance while the whole ensemble just danced along with him. He managed to make it look easy to conduct this terribly virtuosic score. I hope he does it again — or any of my music in the future, for that matter. ASU is lucky to have this guy.
A special shout-out to Serena for driving me around while I was here, and to Darren for being so understanding that his girlfriend became a shuttle service for a week. Thanks to everybody in the wind symphony for giving what I considered to be a flawless performance. Thanks to Kendra for sharing her fresh and fun compositions with me. It was great chatting with her and hearing her great childrens’ opera — which everybody should hear. Thanks to Karl for spending part of his birthday sitting in a concert hall, listening to my piece, when I’m sure he could have been doing something much more celebratory.
Nighty-nite, ASU. It’s been a great week. I hope I can come back soon.
And AEJ — I’m on my way home.