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February 20, 2017

My Piano Concerto “Satori” to be Premiered March 9!

150430_Aznavoorian2The fabulous Marta Aznavoorian will join the Chicago Composers Orchestra as soloist in the World Premiere of my new piano concerto Satori on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 PM.

Satori is Japanese for the search for self knowledge and this piece is a kind of musical self portrait. It’s in four movements and each movement represents a different aspect of me, either as I am or as I aspire to be.

 Get tickets here!

February 2, 2017

Playing with Jenny Lin February 12

indexI’m sharing a bill with the fabulous pianist Jenny Lin.  She’ll play a piece of mine and new music by Stephan Wolf and a piece by Frank Martin and I’ll be playing music inspired by Barcelona architecture, the photos of Diane Arbus and also giving a sneak preview of ACM’s upcoming Sound of Silent Film Festival.

Sunday, February 12 at 8:30 PM at Constellation
3111 N. Western Ave.
Only $10
Get tickets here


January 8, 2017

‘Veil’ to be Performed January 20 at National Sawdust

W1_0598-e1447171854583The second movement of my string quartet, Veil, will be performed on Friday, January 20th at National Sawdust in Brooklyn as part of the first in a new series called Late Night at National Sawdust.

December 7, 2016

‘Half State’ to be Performed December 14

My solo flute piece Half State will be performed on Wednesday, December 14 at the studio of Ensemble Mise-en in Brooklyn at 7:30 PM.  The flutist is Hristina Blagoeva and this concert is part of the Mise-en winter new music festival.

November 9, 2016

I won ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for Broadcasting Excellence

I just learned that I’m one of the winners of this year’s Deems Taylor award which is really exciting. It’s a prestigious award in journalism and I couldn’t be happier.  See the release below.


November 08, 2016 12:13 ET

48th Annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award Winners Announced

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired - November 08, 2016) - The winners of the 48th annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music were announced today by Paul Williams, President of The ASCAP Foundation. The Awards were established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer, critic and commentator Deems Taylor, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career that included six years as President of ASCAP. In 2014 the Awards were renamed to also honor the memory of Virgil Thomson (1896 – 1989), one of the leading American composers and critics of the 20th Century, and a former member of the ASCAP board of directors. The 48th ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards are made possible by the generous support of the Virgil Thomson Foundation. The inaugural ASCAP Foundation “Loved the Liner Notes” Award was established and is funded by ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams.

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Internet Awardrecognizes Bob Boilen, the host and creator of the Tiny Desk Concert Series for NPR Music. The show hosts intimate musical performances at Boilen’s desk which are recorded as videos and made available through podcasts, apps and NPR.org. Boilen is also the current host and creator of NPR’s online music show, “All Songs Considered.”

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Radio Broadcast Awardhonors Seth Boustead, host, composer and Executive Director of Access Contemporary Music for “Relevant Tones,” the world’s only weekly syndicated radio program featuring the music of living composers, which was launched at WFMT in Chicago in 2011.

The Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award for concert music recognizes Playing ‘Til Your Soul Comes Out! Music of Macedonia, written by Martin Koenig and Sonia Tamar Seeman, released on Smithsonian Folkways.

The Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award for pop music honors New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City by Michael White, released by Smithsonian Folkways.

The Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography in the concert music field was awarded to Kirke Mechem for his work, Believe Your Ears: Life of a Lyric Composer. This award was established to honor the memory of Slonimsky (1894-1995), the Russian-American composer, conductor, musicologist and critic.

The Timothy White Award for Outstanding Musical Biography in the pop music field recognizes The Man That Got Away: The Life and Songs of Harold Arlen by Walter Rimler. This award honors the memory of the late Tim White (1952-2002), the author of many acclaimed musical biographies and an Editor-in-Chief of Billboardmagazine.

The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the concert music field was awarded to Philip Kennicott for his work, Suffering the Truth. The article appeared in Opera News.

The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the pop music field recognizes Elijah Wald for his book, Dylan Goes Electric: Newport, Seeger, Dylan and the Night that Split the Sixties, published by HarperCollins.

Other book honorees are:

  • Kimberly Francis for Teaching Stravinsky: Nadia Boulanger and the Consecration of a Modernist Icon, published by Oxford University Press for concert books.
  • Ted Gioia for Love Songs: The Hidden History, published by Oxford University Press for pop books.

The authors and publishers of the award-winning articles are:

  • Geoffrey Himes for his pop article “The Feeling of Space: How Sun Ra Integrated Sci-Fi in Music,” published by Paste magazine.
  • Matt Mendez for his concert article “No Strings Attached: A Prism on the Saxophone Quartet,” in NewMusicBox.org published by New Music USA.

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards Judging Panel for 2016 are ASCAP members Jonathan David, Julie Flanders, David Massengill, Paul Moravec. Special thanks to Jim Steinblatt for his professional guidance and advice.

About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org

About the Virgil Thomson Foundation
The purpose of the Virgil Thomson Foundation is to further and promote the performance, preservation, dissemination and public appreciation of serious music in general and the music and writings of Virgil Thomson in particular. http://www.virgilthomson.org

October 23, 2016

Open House Barcelona is Saturday

I’m about to jump on a plane for Barcelona because ACM is working with their Open House project for the first time this year!  Even more exciting, for the first time in the five years we’ve collaborated with Open House projects, I’m one of the composers. I wrote a piece for violin and cello for the Casa Mas de Miquel.

The other featured building is the Torre Girona, a former cathedral that now houses one of the world’s largest supercomputers.  Hells yes.

October 18, 2016

Open House Chicago is this weekend

ACM will have musicians in two locations this weekend performing at the long-shuttered and recently reopened Colvin House and the Florsheim Mansion in the Gold Coast.

This is our fifth collaboration with the Chicago Architecture Foundation on this project and we’re excited to keep bringing new classical music to so many new audiences.

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September 15, 2016

‘Nocturne’ to be Performed Live on WFMT

My piece Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard, a setting of a poem by Carl Sandburg, will be performed by musicians from Access Contemporary Music live on 98.7 WFMT on Friday, October 7 at 12:15 PM.

The piece is part of ACM’s Sandburg Songs project in which five composers have set poems from his famous Chicago Poems collection in honor of the hundredth anniversary of its printing.

The piece is inspired by a particularly haunting poem of Sandburg’s and is scored for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello and piano.

September 12, 2016

Doors Open Milwaukee is this Weekend

ACM’s annual collaboration with Doors Open Milwaukee is this Saturday! As usual we’ve commissioned composers to write music inspired by buildings in the Doors Open project and will have musicians in those buildings to play the pieces every 15 minutes for the scores of people streaming through.

Each piece has been inspired by an aspect of the building: it’s history, acoustic properties or even it’s physicality. The composers artistic statement will be on hand for the audience to read and discover more about how the building inspired her.

This year’s buildings are:

The Ambassador Hotel


The ASQ Center


The Burnham Block by Frank Lloyd Wright
Burnham block


The Central Library
September 7, 2016

At Gaudeamus Festival in Utrecht

Relevant Tones is in Utrecht this week for the Gaudeamus Music Week festival.  Every day is chalk full of concerts, interviews, workshops and late night drinks.  Gaudeamus is a 75 year-old festival and it’s an honor to be here.  The shows will be posted soon!


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