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April 3, 2017

‘The Heart of the World’ Performance in Mexico City

ACM is bringing our Sound of Silent Film Festival to Mexico City and I’m thrilled that the score I wrote for Guy Maddin’s electric film The Heart of the World, is one of the pieces to be performed.

The festival will happen on April 28 and 29 at Cineteca Nacional, Mexico City’s premiere venue for film.

March 22, 2017

Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago April 22nd

SOSF Poster 2017How quickly twelve years go by.  Hard to believe but on April 22nd we’ll give our twelfth annual Sound of Silent Film Festival at the Music Box Theater in Chicago.

I had the idea for this event because I love silent films but everyone seemed to be tripping over themselves to write new scores for the old classics. I mean, yeah, I love Pandora’s Box too, it’s amazing, but I don’t think the world needs me to write a score for it.

But the world does need someone actively finding new silent films, commissioning composers to score them and then playing those scores live in a venue that also sells alcohol and so that’s what we did and it’s always a lot of fun.

March 16, 2017

Late Night at National Sawdust: Chaos Theory on April 21

e885b19b-c545-4663-be67-4e2af62b9e1aI am very proud of this new series, a quarterly concert series showcasing the globality and diversity of today’s classical music.

Broadcast live on my program Relevant Tones, Late Night at National Sawdust aims to harness the power of live performance and public media (while we still have it) to update the image people have of classical music.

The theme for this concert is Chaos Theory which, in the words of writer Chinua Achebe, means “things fall apart.”

We precede each broadcast with live read-throughs of three works chosen from more than 700 submissions and many of these will make it onto future broadcasts.

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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