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.

As of yesterday, I have finished the Concert Etudes I for solo piano. Currently, I am working on the second movement of a woodwind trio consisting of flute, clarinet, and cello.

While working on the trio and the orchestration for the Saxophone Concerto, I am having a hard time deciding my next project. I have a few ideas, but I don’t know which type of medium I should write for first. Here are the ideas:

Voice and piano (preferably mezzo-soprano, alto, or baritone voice).

British Brass Band

Brass Quintet

duet for saxophone and euphonium

unaccompanied solo for clarinet

small chamber ensemble (instruments TBA)

The poll is below this post with these choices. I’m planning to choose the leading pick on June 4th, so this will give you 7 days to decide what is best. Please feel free to give me ideas and I will be more than happy to add them to the poll.

Have a great weekend!

Two days ago was a huge milestone that I walked over; I graduated from Michigan State University! I am now an MSU Alumnus, though I will return to MSU for studying Masters of Music Composition under Dr. Ricardo Lorenz. I am looking forward to the new chapter that awaits me at the end of August!

Now, Compositions!

I am very close to finishing Concert Etudes #1 for solo piano, which  is a set of six etudes that represents a certain motive. Each etude plays with a motivic idea and tries to expand it based on the properties represented by ONLY the initial motive.

For instance: Etude I. involves two pitches: G# and A; an interval of a minor 2nd. Etude II. focuses on the E Major/Dominant 7th chord. Etude III. is a battle between Bb Major and Bb minor. Etude IV. is based on three pitches: E,F,G. Etude V. is based on five pitches and the dotted eighth sixteenth rhythm, and finally Etude VI. focuses on the control of the pedal. In addition, I was inspired by John Corigliano’s Etude Fantasy when writing Etude VI.

The second piece I’ve been working on during the semester is a trio for flute (doubles on piccolo), clarinet (doubles on bass clarinet), and cello. I’m currently working on the 2nd movement of this piece. The first movement focuses within the treble clef range where all three instruments can feature different timbres while phasing out from one another.

Shortly after a successful performance of the Concerto for Saxophone, I’ve began the process of orchestrating the piano accompaniment for wind ensemble (2,2,Eb,3,Bass, no saxophones, 2,4,3,1,1, double bass, percussion (the instrumentation is not official at this time)). I will let you know later how this project is going.

My goal for this summer is to write a piece for voice and piano. All I have written so far were works for instrumental music and to begin writing a piece for voice is quite scary. Despite this project sounding a bit difficult, I am looking forward to the challenge and I will let you know how this project is going.
Have a great summer! (if not, have a great week!)