I wrote previously about 19, The Musical, a show I’m scoring about suffragist Alice Paul and the fight for votes for women. I’m pleased to report that the first act is being staged at a workshop in Northern Virginia in a couple of weeks. The evening will include light hors d’oeuvres and a Q&A with my talented collaborators, the writers, directors, and lyricists Jennifer Schwed and Doug Bradshaw. For more information, visit throughthe4thwall.com.
On October 18, the Capital City Symphony under the baton of Maestra Victoria Gau will premiere my three-movement work Mid-Century Mambo. It’s an orchestral piece inspired by 1950s dance rhythms, including a mambo, of course, and some string-y, Percy-Faith-style pop. Luckily, Gau’s group has a rock-solid battery that includes a groovy bongo player.
The concert will be held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. It’s an all-American evening and I’m in illustrious company: the other two composers on the bill are Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland. I’ll be at the performance, so if you come, please say hello!
We’ve been in and out of the studio for a couple of years on this one, but Gin Fizz Fandango, my jazz band’s new CD, is ready for release. The title track on the album is an instrumental—and the title also refers to a cocktail dreamt up by Chaise Lounge’s resident bassist/mixologist, Pete Ostle. Naturally the CD also includes vocal numbers like “Tick Tock” that take advantage of our singer’s unique way with a melody and a story.
The CD release party is on September 26 at AMP by Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. I couldn’t be prouder of this album or this band (from left in the photo): Gary Gregg on reeds, Joe Jackson on trombone, Tommy Barrick on drums, yours truly on piano and guitar, Marilyn Older on vocals and piano, and Pete on bass. I’m also tickled with the album cover, shot by Sarah Guroff and designed by Adriana Cordero.
A few years ago, I wrote a seventeen-minute-long orchestra piece named 1348 after the worst year of the bubonic plague that wiped out nearly one-third of Europe’s population and nearly one-half of England’s. In many ways, I could see parallels between that time and ours.
Unsurprisingly, this rather dark piece has had a difficult time finding a performance. But Dr. Patrick Miles and Dr. Leslie DeBauche at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point stepped up to remedy this. This spring, Dr. DeBauche’s film class made a zombie movie to go along with the seven movements of 1348. A zombie movie! I was thrilled. The final performance, which took place on April 23, 2014, was a screening of the film with the university orchestra, conducted by Maestro Miles, playing 1348 as a live soundtrack.