I am excited that I’m going to have three world premieres within eight days this month, amounting to some two hours of music. On February 12 and 13 I am the featured composer at the Symposium of Contemporary Music at Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Illinois. On Friday, February 12, I give a lecture at 7:30 on the Concord Sonata at the School of Music. The following evening, also at 7:30, my two-piano piece Implausible Sketches (2006/11) and my song cycle Transcendentalist Songs (2014) will be performed at Westbrook Auditorium. I’ve been waiting years for the premiere of the two-piano piece, which I consider one of my best works. The symposium dates back to 1952, and previous honorees include Roy Harris, Shulamit Ran, Stephen Paulus, Arvo Pärt, John Corigliano, David Diamond, Karel Husa, my Oberlin teacher Edward Miller, George Crumb, Wallingford Riegger, and quite a wild variety of composers with whom I do and don’t identify. Crazy.
The following Saturday, February 20, will see the official premiere of my new song cycle Proença, based on Ezra Pound and a few troubadours, written for and sung by Michelle Allen McIntire. She’s put together the Proença Band, with Virginia Bachman on flute, Jennifer Lacy on electric piano, Jennifer Wagner on vibes, and Brian Padavic on bass (above). They’re actually giving a pre-premiere performance this Saturday, February 6, at Vinyl Renaissance in Overland Park, Kansas City, at 2pm, on a bill with the Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes. The official world premiere, which I will attend, is at the Bragg Auditorium in the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City on February 20 at 7:30. This is the same beautiful space in which Sarah Cahill and I gave the re-premiere of Dennis Johnson’s November in 2009. They’ve put a ton of rehearsal into the piece, and I can’t wait to hear it. Next, they’ll be playing it at Bard College on March 2, in Bito Auditorium.