Robert Paterson | Composer

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Clearing Away The Tumbleweeds: Recent Happenings

I’ve been bad: I haven’t updated my blog since 2013. Every now and then I’d peek at it and feel guilty; it was looking like a barren wasteland. My only excuse is that I’ve been busy with commissions, American Modern Ensemble, and at least this summer, acting as the Director of the Composition Program at the Atlantic Music Festival.

But let’s get real: I’m not one of those “bloggers,” those people who post every week or even every day, for little more than exposure for the sake of vanity. Furthermore, everyone knows that blogs are now passé and have given way to Vine, Twitter and other platforms that don’t involve sentences.

Anyway, I promise to keep my blog more up to date. I am sitting on few ideas that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while regarding other people’s music, my music, and a mountain of other topics that you’ll hopefully find interesting.

So… what’s up? I’m working on a variety of pieces, a few of which I’ll highlight later on with more specific posts.

I recently finished a new brass quintet entitled Shine that was commissioned by the American Brass Quintet that was premiered at Aspen (and received a standing ovation and a really nice review), and that will be performed at The Juilliard School on October 19. It was an absolute blast to work with ABQ, and I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll perform my piece a bunch of other times, and hopefully even record it.

At the moment, I’m working on a new piece for the Claremont Trio, entitled Moon Trio. This piece is the sister piece (or brother piece! It can go either way) for another work I wrote a long time ago entitled Sun Trio. Same instrumentation, but this trio is much shorter, and will be ca. 16 minutes in duration. The trio will premiere this work in Boston on November 26, and perform and record it in NYC in December. More on that later.

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While I’m working on the Moon Trio, I’ll be revising the chamber opera I wrote with Mark Campbell entitled The Whole Truth, based on a short story by Stephen McCauley. This will be premiered in a new, orchestrated form in New York in January during Opera America’s New Works Forum in NYC on January 16. This work was originally commissioned by Bob Wood and Urban Arias and was premiered as a vocal piano work, so I’m really excited to be able to present it fully-orchestrated. The program will also include the world premiere of a new orchestration of a chamber opera by Stewart Copeland (drummer for The Police), entitled The Cask of Amontillado. If you’re in NYC that week, please stop by. The operas are being presented by American Modern Ensemble at Dixon Place, a really cool venue on the Lower East Side in NYC.

Other commissions on the horizon include a new work for the Gulf Coast Symphony for orchestra and chorus and a new work for Volti entitled Graffiti Canons, for a cappella choir. The text for this work will be based on aphoristic graffiti sayings from around the world. I’ll be holding a competition for graffiti images for this work. Any images I use will be included in a slide show that will accompany the work. More details on both of these works will be posted early this fall.

I have other projects that I’m dying to write about, but for now, I’ll keep this fairly short. If you’re curious what else I am up to, I have a page on my site of works that are In-Progress or Upcoming, and I usually post in-progress program notes that detail what the works are about.

So, that’s it for now. My goal is to add a post at least four times a year. Let’s see if I can hold to that! I’ll begin incorporating videos and audio as well, to make everything more interesting.