September 21, 2006
There have been rumblings about it for a while now, but as of this morning, it’s official that my big piece for 2007 will be a concerto for saxophone and wind ensemble — in all likelihood, for soprano sax specifically. The consortium is all organized by Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas, along with Donald Fabian, the principal sax player in the Dallas Wind Symphony. Don played the soprano sax solo in “Redline Tango” when the DWS did the piece in March, and he asked me about a concerto right after the dress rehearsal. Having never heard anybody play a soprano sax like Don had, I was incredibly psyched.
I’m particularly excited about this project, and not just because it’ll be a second chance to write a concerto. What really gets me going is the challenge of it — the fact that I have never heard a sax concerto that I wanted to listen to. Some have decent music, but they’re not flashy. Some are flashy, but still boring — or even brash and empty. The goal with this project is to write a sax concerto that I actually want to spend 20 minutes listening to.
Jerry sent out an email last night, and as of this morning, the consortium is more than 3/4 full. Jerry works insanely fast.
The piece will premiere in 2007/2008. The Dallas Wind Symphony will give the premiere with Don Fabian.
On Monday, I start the big Travelganza 2006. First stop: Arizona State. I fly there on Monday morning, have some lunch, then speak at the composer forum. The rest of the day, for now, seems to be free. Tuesday, I have rehearsal for “Turbine” with the wind ensemble. They’re still a few weeks from their concert, so it’ll be a little rough, but it’s going to be a blast, I’m sure. I fly home Tuesday night, and then leave again on Thursday morning — this time, for Austin, Texas. Thursday evening is open, and Friday is rehearsal of “Redline Tango” with Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble. Friday night : dinner with Jerry and company. Saturday is a football game — UT vs. Sam Houston State. I’ve been told that Jerry will take me up to the press box, show me around, and presumably supply more tasty food. Sunday the 1st is the concert (and my birthday). Monday, I’m stopping by Hill Country Middle School to meet Cheryl Floyd’s band, for whom I’ll be writing a piece in 2008. After that, it’s back to UT for a composer forum.
Tuesday morning, I fly to Texas Tech to work with Sarah McKoin on “Turbine.” The super-composer Chen Yi will also be in residence there that week. I’m so not worthy… I fly home to LA on Friday, October 6.
So, it was a good morning. It’s great to know that the sax concerto is officially happening, I’m looking forward to the upcoming trips, and I had a tasty cup of coffee. In fact, I’d been feeling pretty good about things. And you know what’s funny? The way fate is like, “dude, you’re really not that special. Here — I’ll show you.” Yeah, that’s right. The University of Texas program listing for the upcoming concert lists the composer for “Redline Tango” as… blank. I will now return to my humble chair.
Time to get to work. I have a piece due December 1, and I need to get moving on that. To entertain yourself while I’m away, I recommend one of my recent blog discoveries, Fosco Lives. Nothing beats Fosco’s take on the Playboy’s “Girls of the Big 12” issue. (As a side note, I believe that U. Texas is a member of the Big 12, although I’d be surprised if the Girls of the UT Wind Ensemble play a major role in this issue. I don’t look at dirty pictures, so I wouldn’t know. I suspect that link contains the whole “spread,” if you will. And that last link is totally NSFW, in case there was any doubt.)