Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thank you, Mélomanie, for Nobility of Women encore

Had a blast at Mélomanie’s season opener last night: Telemann, Boismoitier, a Chris Braddock world premiere, and selections from recent commissions, including The Nobility of Women, which they had premiered in January.

I always enjoy hearing the music of Ingrid Arauco, Mark Hagerty, and Chuck Holdeman. I love hearing Priscilla play… anything, or anything of mine, or that Boismoitier, which was a delight. The audience loved everything.

Nobility was represented by the Sarabande (Priscilla’s solo, with cello and harpsichord) and the closing Canario (which also closed the concert), with the whole band. Immanuel Church Highlands in Wilmington is a jewel of a venue for concerts: live, but not too, and beautiful. Mélomanie sounded terrific.

Truth be told, you do take a chance with so many live composers on one concert. Many came up after, in the sanctuary or at the Columbus Inn reception, to tell me how much they were transported by Nobility. Especially did I appreciate the comments of one woman, who was moved by my ingenious picturing of the river. She could really feel the movement of the water, and all I could do was thank her. She was so dear and inspiring with her compliments that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I wasn’t Mark Hagerty.

(He deserved those compliments for Trois Rivières, so I happily passed them along to him!)


Glen Velez

Percussion sets the scene on Now is the Time, Sunday, September 30th at 10 pm. From Michael Hersch’s vast, chime-grounded symphony to drum master Glen Velez’s kicky duo, percussion comes out of the background to speak a language all its own. Joel Chadabe blends percussionist Jan Williams’s playing with on-the-spot electronic manipulation, giving new meaning to the word “ensemble.”

Now is the Time means American contemporary music on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at


Michael Hersch. Symphony No. 1
Joel Chadabe. Many Times Jan
Glen Velez. Homage for Frame Drum and Viola

Now is the Time combines all styles of concert music by living American composers, every Sunday night at 10. Here are the recording details and complete schedule.

The Nobility of Women, Mélomanie season opener

Mélomanie’s 2012-13 season begins tomorrow night at Immanuel Church, Highlands in Wilmington with a potpourri of excerpted recent commissions. The Nobility of Women will be on the program, along with music by Ingrid Arauco, Mark Hagerty, Chuck Holdeman, and the premiere of The Grease in the Groove by Chris Braddock. Boismortier and Telemann are on tap, and Priscilla’s playing, too!

I cannot be objective about the Braddock piece, because it has a 12-string guitar, and I automatically love anything with a 12-string guitar.

Mélomanie always puts on a great show, and it’ll be great seeing them all again.

Made the highlights

My upcoming Orchestra 2001 commission, Red-tail and Hummingbird, has made the highlight reel of concerts Tom Purdom is anticipating in Philadelphia’s 2012-13 concert season, which he writes up in the Broad Street Review. I’m there with Hillary Hahn, Yannick, and The Band of the Scots Guards.

The Orchestra 2001 concerts (Feb 22, 23, 24, 2013, part of their 25th Anniversary season) is shared with Piffaro, The Renaissance Band. The piece I’m writing will be played by both groups, the modern and the early instruments. How will that work? Still figuring that out.

Reports coming in on the Mass for Philadelphia

Churches are starting to introduce the Mass for Philadelphia into their services, and I’m starting to hear back that all’s well. “Really fine” and “very well received today” were among the reports received—all positive, by the way!

Some are working it in over a couple of weeks, and some began with the already-prepared choir in “plainclothes” in the nave, to help along. This is a great idea, and one Bach used in Leipzig with some of the schoolboys who’d come early to learn his reworked chorales. Even though this Mass is written specifically for congregational singing, and is easy to learn, anything new will give pause.

(I was going to add, “especially in church,” but it’s true everywhere.)

The proof of the director is in the preparation, and I’m indebted to the wonderful ones who have purchased and prepared this for their congregations. In the churning, week-after-week world of church music, you want your pieces to be bullet-proof as well as beautiful, and so I couldn’t have received a better compliment than this one, from a director in New England, “It was all good”!

More information about the Mass, composed for the Philadelphia 2012 Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians, is here. Any questions about any of it, please send me an email here, and thanks!


It’s the stuff of earth and of life on Now is the Time, Sunday, September 23rd at 10 pm. A solo piano rocks, and water meets stone at a Mediterranean coast. Michael Gandolfi interprets the garden where natural geometry gives way to physics. Brooks plays with air and percussion, and Mason Bates composes Elements for Philadelphia’s Mimi Stillman and Charles Abramovic.

Now is the Time means American contemporary music on WRTI-HD2 and the all-classical stream at


Patrick Beckman. Rock

Brian Hulse. Sunstone

Michael Gandolfi. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Part 1

Jeffrey Brooks. Still Life with Compressed Air

Mason Bates. Elements for Flute and Piano

Now is the Time combines all styles of concert music by living American composers, every Sunday night at 10. Here are the recording details and complete schedule.