Category: Projects

Projects Big and Small, 2015–16

Juan Luna, Spoliarium (1884)

The 2015–16 season is upon us, and things are settling nicely (as nicely as things can settle in the world of concert music) after the whirlwind that was the beginning of a new academic year at Juilliard, so some small updates are in order.

Two big things are lined up my way: first, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute in January, in which I will take part, and in which a slightly revised Magayon will receive its professional orchestra premiere. Needless to say, I’m terribly fortunate to see this piece performed a second time, and thrilled to hear what magic the Minnesota Orchestra will work on it.

Second, a new piece for the New Juilliard Ensemble’s season-closing concert in April is in the works. This time I’ve chosen for my subject the most famous of Filipino paintings, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, which depicts a scene from a chamber in the Roman Colosseum where the bodies of fallen gladiators were dragged and stripped of their armor—a deliciously ripe subject for a piece if I ever saw one!

But big projects are giant curtains that obscure a different, more uncertain world underneath, made of smaller projects, and full of scurrying and scrambling to make things happen. A few days ago, for instance, I completed a new work for viola and piano—provisionally titled Air—for my colleague Drew Alexander Forde. A performance or two will more or less certainly take place at Juilliard some time toward the end of the concert season, though these things can be quite fluid, and the premiere might very well occur sooner. And now I occupy myself with a quick setting of the Magnificat for the Philippine-American Choral Project in New York; of course, updates to come as things unfold.