quick post


I’ve been neglecting this blog as of late. Nothing intentional—I’ve been very busy lately and have been to Canada, Mexico and the West Coast all in the past three weeks (and I’m in Redwood City, CA right now). The job’s going quite well, though, and I haven’t had this much fun with work in a long time. 

I also haven’t been as active on the musical front, either, for the same reasons. I’ve been asked to write a piece for either marimba, vibraphone or some other percussion (1 player), and haven’t done much with that. I’m also nearly done with a big project: taking an old score of mine from 1981 and getting it into Finale so that I can realize a MP3 file and also post the score. The piece is 2 hours long, so it’s taken some effort and time. But it’s basically done, minus a few tweaks here and there.

I’m also going to submit a score to the forthcoming Sequenza 21 concert. It requires a short piece (< 12 minutes) for a combination of piano, violin, cello, flute and/or clarinet. What I did last night was arrange an ”open instrumentation“ work (this piece intentionally left blank) for flute, violin, cello and piano. The piece is 11 minutes, so that part works, and I think the arrangement works as well. Not as good as what Paul Bailey did with the Diverse Instrument Ensemble, but it’ll do. The question is whether whomever is ”judging“ the scores agrees that it works, and is a worthwhile piece. Personally, I’m really averse to things like this. I don’t enter composition competitions, since the entire concept makes no sense to me (imagine a competition to determine which is the better work between Barnett Newman, Jeff Koons and Philip Guston. How ridiculous and meaningless is that?). I can live with this, since it’s not technically a competition, and I guess at some level every choice made with regard to playing a piece amounts to a competition. But in the end, it’s all a subjective decision, so whether my piece gets selected or not shouldn’t be taken as an objective judgment about the piece, and that is true of any other submissions. I can see someone dissing the score since it is about as simple a score as I’ve ever written—pretty much 99% of the work is just a steady stream of eighth notes. No tuplets. No syncopations. No complexity. Nada. Someone who thinks new music must be complex to be taken seriously won’t take this piece seriously at all. C’est la vie.

One other thing that just emerged today: someone should tell whomever runs the physician database site Vitals.com that the U of Chicago is not a ”3-star medical school.“ I’m sorry, but what idiotic database vendor are they using? Emory is a 4-star school, agreed. And not the U of C? I just fired off a polite e-mail to them, cc’d to the dean of my med school. I can take a lot of insults—tell me my music is crap, repetitive, simplistic, whatever, and that’s fine with me. But tell me I went to a second-rate medical school, and I’m going to take offense. Or rather, my huge ego will be insulted. Something like that.