Inspiration for Us All

Unfortunately for those of you who don’t have Facebook won’t be able to view this, but here is a post that I made on Eric Whitacre’s wall a while back.

Exciting stuff! Although strangely enough, having my own piece called “gorgeous” by my hero wasn’t the most moving experience I took away. Rather, it was all the comments from other musicians who I’ve never met, yet loved my piece. Their kind words are what push me to keep composing.

The Seal Lullaby

Probably one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard in my life, and I do not say that lightly. And as with all of the pieces that move me, I hope to one day write a piece such as this.

Interestingly enough, the pieces is quite unlike any of Whitacre’s other choral compositions, perhaps due to the fact that it was intended for use in a film. But no matter the style, it’s stunningly beautiful nonetheless.

Alleluia

Although it may be disguised under a different title, this is essentially a choral arrangement of Eric Whitacre’s stunningly capturing piece for Wind Symphony called October. October is probably one of my favorite pieces I have ever played in band, still to this day.

I actually heard this arrangement as the background music to one of Eric Whitacre’s radio interviews, and I immediately thought to myself, “Wait, isn’t that October? For choir? No, this can’t be happening! It’ll ruin the piece that was meant for winds!” But it took me no more than the following ten seconds to take the thought back. It’s a great arrangement, just as beautiful as the original, just in a different way.

A Boy and a Girl

A Boy and a Girl

Stretched out on the grass
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their oranges,
giving their kisses like waves exchanging foam. 

Stretched out on the beach,
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their limes,
giving their kisses like clouds exchanging foam. 

Stretched out underground,
a boy and a girl.
Saying nothing, never kissing,
giving silence for silence. 

Octavio Paz, 1914-1998
(Translated by Muriel Rukeyser)

Isn’t it just beautiful? Both the poem and the music?

What If

I just discovered this song at a friend’s house while browsing through Eric Whitacre’s website. I was at first put off by the fact that he titled one of his songs “What If,” stealing my thunder and all, but then I listened to the piece and realized I absolutely loved it.

Performance

Now that I have a 100+ posts on this blog, I feel quite accomplished for keeping up with… well, anything for such a long time. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been as consistent as I should be with my posts especially when I’m crammed with work. But more work means more things to talk about! And I certainly will get to all the important events I’ve neglected, but the most important must come first.

I don’t know when you can officially start calling yourself a composer; it’s something I’ve always struggled to define. Is it when you first write a piece? Is it when your work is published? Or maybe you have to write music as a profession? I still can’t say for sure. But after the 2011 Winter Choral Concert of my high school choir, I truly feel like a composer.

I wrote a choral piece called “A Miracle” after attending CME last summer. The piece was largely inspired by much of Jim Papoulis’s music, as he was the guest composer for CME. I had a great time working with him and his music more closely than I probably ever will again. The piece, edited with the help of a few encouraging singers (You know who you are, thank you!), received a positive response from my musician friends. So without knowing what I would get out of it, I presented the work to the choral director at my high school.

Thankfully, he was surprisingly welcoming with my work. He took a listen and let me know that he would love to have the choir take a look at  the piece. With that, I was delighted. I had had the band sightread a few of my pieces, and now I would get a choir piece sightread as well. Little did I know, at least until the day the director emailed me, that he would be performing my work at the winter concert.

If you’ve ever had the privilege of being a composer, you don’t need me to tell you how amazing it feels to have your work performed for the first time. Do you remember the first time you performed a solo in front of an audience? It feels something like that. You’d think, as a composer listening to his work performed, you wouldn’t be as nervous as if you were performing it. But you are. At least I was. Even with all the nervousness, it made me feel very accomplished.

So thank you, to all the people who came up to me after the concert and expressed how much you liked the piece. Thank you, to the choir and the director, for working hard to ready a performance of my piece. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to keep on writing music, especially my band director and my close musician friends (Again, you know who you are).

As long as I live, music will be a part of my life. I see this performance as just a small first step in that journey.

CME and Jim Papoulis

An exciting new opportunity has arisen for me: during the next week, I will be attending Choral Music Experience with the guest conductor Jim Papoulis!

Not only will I be doing a lot of singing, I’ll have a chance to participate in conducting classes and composing workshops with one of the best choral composers in America! If you have not hear his music, here are some of my favorite:

Hopefully I’ll get a lot out of fun and musical learning out of CME, and maybe even get to converse with Jim Papoulis! This is the first time that I’ll get to meet one of my “idol” composers in person, and I am very, very thrilled.