A Word on Orchestration

I have finished two musicals over the past three years. Of course “finished” is an expedient word that really means, “We’ve stopped changing it…for now.” Musical theater is a collaborative medium, and there are many tasks still to come in the course of getting either of these pieces up on a stage with costumes, sets, lighting and a pit band. Usually, a composer will hand off the orchestration of his songs to a specialist in the art, but for these two shows, I couldn’t bear to. I had to do it myself. To me, the songs aren’t a full artistic statement unless I can have a hand in constructing the final ensemble sound. If you’re curious to hear a few of the final orchestrations for the shows, you can find them at these websites: 19: The Musical, a show about women gaining the right to vote, and When We Get There, a show about a fateful car trip to Selma, Alabama.

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