Feb 21 2016

WSW Celebrates Percussion!

I have lots of performance news!

Next Sunday, February 28, I’ll be conducting the second concert of our 2015-2016, “Spirit & Fortitude,” at Tarrytown Music Hall at 3:00 pm. This concert will feature and celebrate percussion in several big ways:

  • The WSW Percussion "Dream Team" takes a moment to pose with our special guests from our November concert.

    The WSW Percussion “Dream Team” takes a moment to pose with our special guests from our November concert.

    Black Rainbow, a work for six solo percussionists and symphonic band, exploring the elusive and mystical moonbow, by composer Nathan Daughtrey, will be featured to honor the musical legacy of longtime Westchester resident, the late Howard Van Hyning, and the endowment of the Howard Van Hyning Memorial Percussion chair by his wife, Marlene Piturro. Mr. Van Hyning was the principal percussionist of the New York City Opera and a faculty member at Mannes College/New School of Music. The New York Times described him as “a collector who amassed a treasure trove of vintage percussion instruments that he rented to orchestras worldwide.” Mark Dodge, percussion soloist, said, “Learning Black Rainbow has been a tremendously rewarding experience.  It’s a work that balances technique with expression, and as a percussionist and musician who championed modern percussion music, Howard (Van Hyning) would be touched to know that we are playing this in his honor.” And Eric Milkie, also a percussion soloist, said, “I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to play Black Rainbow; this masterful piece is tailor-made to showcase the full panorama of talents of the WSW percussionists.”

  • I lost my dear friend, Tim Tull, in a tragic accident last September. Tim, a percussionist with the Houston Ballet and Librarian for the Houston Grand Opera, was a tremendous resource for all kinds of percussion questions I’ve had over the years. His father, Fisher Tull, was an award-winning composer, and I conducted his The Final Covenant on my graduate conducting recital, with Tim playing in the percussion section. Tim also joined us to perform with WSW at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall last June, when we traveled to Chicago to participate in a concert exchange with the Northshore Concert Band. And so it’s fitting to perform The Final Covenant once again, and dedicate its performance to my longtime friend, Tim Tull.
  • One of the most interesting works on the program is Aurora Awakes, by John Mackey.The work finds its center in a short motive based on a guitar riff from U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” But the piece also employs percussion in a most dramatic way.
  • The dynamic program also features guest conductor Brian Worsdale, from the Manhattan School of Music, who will conduct Elixir by Michael Markowski. Principal euphonium, Marc Tartell, will conduct A Festival Prelude, by Alfred Reed, as our featured Apprentice Conductor. The program also includes: Gustav Holst, First Suite in E-flat; William Latham, Court Festival; and Clifton Williams, The Sinfonians.
The DCMEA WInd Ensemble at Arlington HS

The DCMEA WInd Ensemble at Arlington HS

Three weeks ago, I conducted the Dutchess County Music Educators Wind Ensemble. This band, made up of 7th-9th graders, came to the first rehearsal completely prepared, and their work at the concert was truly impressive.

Heading to Las Vegas? I’ll be conducting the Nevada All-State Orchestra on Saturday, April 16 at University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The concert is at noon. If you’ll be in the area, please let me know!

The WSW season will conclude with our Spring concert at Tarrytown Music Hall on Saturday, May 14 at 8:00 pm. In June, we will host a special exchange concert, sharing the stage with the renowned Northshore Concert Band of Wilmette, Illinois, conducted by Dr. Mallory Thompson, at the Palace Theater, Stamford, on Sunday, June 19 at 3:00 pm. Next summer, the Westchester Symphonic Winds will return to the stage of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah on Saturday, July 2 at 8:00 pm. This will be our third performance as the featured ensemble at Caramoor’s “Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks” Concert. I’m particularly excited about our return to Caramoor; the first two concerts sold out, and tickets for 2016 are quickly disappearing.

Lastly, I’ll be returning to Temple University on July 11-15 to act as a clinician for the  2016 Wind Conducting and Teaching Workshop. My good friend, Emily Threinen, will coordinate this program and as a clinician as well. Gene Corporan, from the University of North Texas, is the featured guest clinician. This will be an excellent workshop. If you’re a conductor and looking for a good summer experience, I really recommend this program.

I hope you’re enjoying this break from the usual winter weather, and I hope to see you soon!