Last week, I completed 50% of my journey as a Masters student in Music Composition at Michigan State University. If there is one thing that I have learned from this school year, it’s that a Masters program flies by quickly!

In my previous post, I was under a lot of pressure with deadlines, competitions, and institutes. I am glad to say that I won in the new music category of the MSU Honors Competition! With that said, my piece, Test Drive, will be performed by the new music ensemble, Musique 21 during the following school year. I will keep you posted on the performance soon.

With Brevard, I had no idea where I would land, since of all the institutions in the United States, Brevard is considered as one of the best institutes for composers. I was placed on their waiting list. This is great, since now I’m on their radar…meaning that they’ve noticed my potential and hopefully when next year arrives, I’ll have a better chance of getting accepted.

UNL Chamber Music Institute on the other hand, denied. To be honest, I was quite shocked with the denial, since I was on Brevard’s waiting list, but Nebraska, which is great for chamber music with very good composition (not like Brevard), denied. I guess this could be due to a small number of chamber ensembles that applied to the program. Whatever the reason was, I can’t complain too much with how successful my first year as a Masters student was.

For this summer, I have a lot of projects on my plate. For starters, I’ve been working on a song cycle for baritone voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano (similar to the Pierrot Lunaire ensemble “Eighth Blackbird“). Silent Music is comprised of three songs based on poems from three poets: Ana Bozicevic, Patrick Phillips, and Floyd Skloot. I’ve been able to communicate with all three of them and they were thrilled that I was interested in using their work into a song format. Hoping to have this piece finished by the end of the summer.

Then, the big granddaddy of the two: my thesis! Kind of scary really. I’m planning to compose my thesis for full orchestra, and my goal is to complete it by the end of my first semester in order to use this piece for the Honors Competition in the Orchestra division, along with other institutions.

Hopefully, I can give you more updates on the progress of these works as well as giving you some heads-up on what’s going on.

Wow! It has been almost 2 months since I posted a new blog post. I have been very busy for the good and bad.

Since December, I had worked on movements II. and III. in “Test Drive” for the honors competition. The deadline was yesterday (2/15), the same day as the Nebraska deadline. The good news is that I submitted the materials for both events, but at a bitter cost…Two weeks ago, I finished the second movement of Test Drive, however I did not have anything going for the third movement. Normally, I would think “I have two movements down, one more to go” right? WRONG! It turned out that on February 7th, I have a brief outline sketched in pencil and 10 measures that my professor rejected during my lesson. To top it off, I had 8 days until the deadline!!

This was scary because I was very busy with Wind Symphony, which is going through a hectic schedule this month, along with other projects for school. Between the 7th and the 15th, I had lost sleep for four days, composed all day for the week while barely working on homework (and forgetting to assign new etudes to my students) and I injured my right elbow from falling on the sidewalk arm/knee first on the day BEFORE the deadline! Luckily, I was able to turn in my materials for the MSU competition early this morning.

So after the intense week and a half, I am quite tired, though I have one more application to send: Brevard.

My goal for my Masters degree is to build my résumé as strong as possible to study at a high-caliber college for my D.M.A. that is similar or better to MSU, but with a better composition studio to find a promising job (not that I’m saying MSU is bad, but I have been here for five years going on six. No need to stay for an extra three-four years).

By applying to Brevard (and hopefully get accepted to Brevard), I will have the opportunity to make my résumé stronger than ever imagined, as I will learn to write five big projects per week, have my pieces performed AND recorded, and study from a superior level of composers (one of whom won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition on the American Opera “Elmer Gantry” this year)! I know that Brevard is quite competitive when it comes to applications, however I am willing to work and edit as much as possible to make this goal a possibility.

The best case scenario would be to win the competition and get accepted to both Nebraska and Brevard. If one of these does not happen, then I will still be happy with whatever the outcomes turns out.

Well, it has been over 1.5 months since my last post and I must say a lot has happened since.

Where to start? Oh yeah!

Well, I have managed to find 17 musicians, including myself, who will be performing in my capstone recital on April 15th at 8pm. The only problem is that I am having a difficult time finding a violinist. I had two violins, then both of them could not perform, found one, but no luck on the second violin. It will work out eventually. Meanwhile, I have been finalizing my rehearsal plans for the recital, and so far it is looking great.

A couple weeks ago, I found out that I have been accepted to Michigan State University for my Masters in Music Composition! Now I know that I will be going to graduate school. As for The Ohio State University, I STILL have not heard from them which concerns me, but I’m not worried.

Now for the composition part of this blog, what am I doing?

Well, I have been working on a set of Concert Etudes for piano: six etudes. I am currently working on the fourth movement of six, as well as editing the first three movements. In addition, I started working on an unaccompanied solo for euphonium. The idea of writing a piece such as this for euphonium came from the influence I took from John Stevens, Soliloquies.

ONE MORE THING!!

Two days ago, I received an email from Dr. Hutcheson regarding the results for the Honors Competition for Composers at MSU. I am happy to say that I was the runner-up in the orchestra portion of the competition! The best part of the competition was the judge. The judge was none other than the amazing David Maslanka! The email contained many comments from Maslanka. Even though my piece was not the most dominate piece in the competition, the fact that David Maslanka was the judge of this competition was a win for me and everyone else who competed in the competition.

Of all the semesters of MSU I’ve had, I would say by far this semester is the most adjustable (credit wise). But to be honest, this semester will easily be the most busiest one of them all.

This semester, I have a capstone experience recital on April 15th at Michigan State University. For those of you who are not aware of capstone experiences, it’s a fancy title for a senior composition recital. Currently, I have enough musicians to perform five of my compositions. I’m still looking for one oboe and two violins. What is very special about this recital, besides the fact that the music is exclusively by yours truly, is the premiere of my Concerto for Saxophone. I find this Concerto to be one of my favorite concertos, since it’s focus does not apply to pushing the performer’s abilities as a soloist, but rather, tells a “musical” story behind it. In addition, my brother Eddie, is the soloist, and from past experience with trios, duets, and rehearsals at Wind Symphony, he is the definition of determination. He’s always more than willing to experiment with new ideas, and new music; he never hesitates a challenge.

As far as euphonium, I advanced to the MSU Honors Concerto Finals. Unfortunately, I did not win as the performing soloist, however, I was very content with my performance. In addition, I am planning to have euphonium recital sometime in late March/early April. Further info soon.