Turning – CBDNA premiere

I’m home — and gradually recovering — from the CBDNA convention in Ann Arbor last week. I had three performances during the week, and had an all-around good time. Central Michigan University gave a performance of “Redline Tango” that had people talking, Texas Christian University gave the premiere of the newly-revised version of “Turning,” and Rick Clary conducted “Turbine” with the Florida State Wind Orchestra in the best performance that piece will probably ever have. Rick’s performance was, in fact, one of the top two performances I’ve ever had of any of my music, in any medium, ever.

I don’t have a recording of the “Turbine” performance yet, but I do — finally! — have a great recording of my new piece, “Turning,” and I’ve posted it. The dynamic range is a bit extreme, going from ffff to pppp on the first page, so you’ll need good headphones or some great speakers to hear what’s happening. Bobby and his ensemble did a wonderful job. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

I do have a few pictures from the trip… I met up with some of the gang from my recent trip to Japan! Here I am with them and Steve Bryant. Steve’s piece “Stampede” was performed during the convention. (I raved about “Stampede” in this previous entry.)

Here’s Rick rehearsing his group during the dress rehearsal. Note that this is not “Turbine.” How can you tell? Because there’s a harp. This kind of made me wish that I’d included a harp part in Turbine — just to give it a little extra volume.

Rick’s concert included the best performance I’ve heard of Jonathan Newman’s gorgeous work, “As the Scent of Spring Rain.” Newman’s piece, a perfect six minutes of almost-Bergian bliss (albeit a lot more tuneful than Berg, of course), was the lyrical hit of the convention. I’m excited to receive the CD of the concert so I can hear this performance again. Everybody is going to be playing this piece next spring.

The concert ended with Dan Welcher’s newest symphony, a surprisingly accessible take on serial technique.
Here’s a shot of (left to right) Rick Clary, me looking short and dorky, Dan Welcher (looking a bit like a dashing anchorman), and Jonathan Newman.

One of my favorite composers — John Adams! — attended the Michigan Symphonic Band concert on Friday night. He sat two rows in front of me. That’s the back of his head. (Michael Daugherty is on his right.)

And if that wasn’t enough composers for ya, I got my picture taken with Frank Ticheli! I was so excited!

I think Frank was less excited than I was. If he could have used his middle finger on that magazine cover, I think he would have.

So, a great convention. Now go listen to “Turning.” And if you have a band, go program “As the Scent of Spring Rain.”


Sarah says

john, you are easily one of my favorite people. i just about died in my office from laughter while looking at the ticheli picture. good lord.

Michael Markowski says


Kevin Howlett says

Dude, "Turning" is my new favorite piece by you. I'd heard the MIDI realization and knew that the real-life performance would kick ass. Cold, majestic, and frightening. Can't run out of good things to say about this piece. Seriously.

Cathy says

Wait, I'm confused...no food report???

When I met Frank Ticheli a few weeks ago, I did not introduce myself as "John Mackey's Stalker". Your name, as well as Daniel's, did come up in conversation, though. ;)

Kirsten Reynolds says

It was good to see you back in Ann Arbor for the CBDNA deal. I'm really glad we decided to come back and hear you piece as well as Jonathan's. They were both FANTASTIC!! I still think it's funny how excited you were to get your picture taken with Ticheli :)

Avguste says

Hey John
It was great to see you at CBDNA and it was great to hear your piece.
Congratulations on all the performances and thank you for a great time
Hope to see you soon

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.