2019 USA EAST COAST TOUR OVERVIEW

The 2019 USA East Coast Tour was a commissioning campaign for a series of new works premiered and performed at three festivals across the East Coast of the United States: Connecticut Summerfest (Hartford, Connecticut), Charlotte New Music Festival (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Atlantic Music Festival (Waterville Maine).

The tour began June 13, 2019 and ended July 29th with three new works: A Curious Misadventure String Quartet #2: Fede (Faith) and Sfidare (Defy) for Orchestra. The project was funded through crowd commissioning, kicked off by a fundraising concert in Boston May 17th and engaged over 50 co-commissioners.

OUTCOMES SINCE

This project has played such a critical role in many positive developments and activities since completing the tour. The materials generated from this experience have led to so many other opportunities including subsequent commissions, awards, festivals, and other projects, even playing a critical part of my US Immigration case. A few are listed here and you can click on them to read more. The project also provided me with enormous professional and creative enrichment, helping me refine my craft, but also identify more structure in the five years ahead (in a field that notoriously lacks structure), the 14 private lessons with accomplished composers really helped here. Lastly, I got to meet a lot of talented artists who were fun people! It’s wonderful having so many friends and possible future collaborators speckled throughout the continent!

Thank you to everyone who supported this project and I look forward to keeping you informed of how your contribution tracks over the coming years!

(2020) Keene State College International 2020 Call for Scores

More about Keene State College Music Department 2020 International Call For ScoresMore about Keene…

(2020) Deus Ex Musica – Call For Scores

More about Deus Ex MusicaMore about Carrefour Chamber Music ProjectWinner | String Quartet #2:…

Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival (October 2020)

Terre Haute, Indiana USA An annual new music festival at Indiana State University College of Arts…

(2020) Indiana State University – Music Now Contest

Winner | String Quartet #2: “Fede”. To be featured in Indiana State University’s…

(2020) Greater Bridgeport Symphony – Emerging Composer Competition Pioneering New Works

Finalist for “Sfidare for Orchestra” selected from over 70 entries. More about Greater…

TUTTI Festival (March 2020)

Granville Ohio, USA A biennial festival at Denison University bringing together artists from…

 THE “CROWD-COMMISSIONING” CAMPAIGN & THE TOUR COMMISSIONERS

To make the tour possible, the public was invited to co-commission the three new works to be featured in this tour via the Australian Cultural Fund and Fractured Atlas. Over 50 individuals from the United States to Australia and from all walks of life and demographics answered the call and got it done. It is my privilege to acknowledge their contribution below and I thought it fitting to enshrine their names on the scores of the works they helped make possible. All those who might perform the work will be reminded of the goodwill from which it was created and carries with it.
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Angela Roberts & John Rodgers
Charles Grant
Peter Wreford
Charles Custeau
Bill Rigg
The Kellis Family
Peter Knight
Radhika Bhattacharya & Paul Karner
Arianne Kourosh
Massimo Morin
Sarah Livingstone
Rita Khanna & Amar Bhattacharya
Chris Erickson & Joseph Zoellers
Anita Govindjee
Christina Ho

Daniela Caruso Micali
The Kruger Family
Ray Lian
Maren Cattonar & Matthias Oberli
Annemarie Rolls
Dianne Beer
Saumyendra Bhattacharya
Adriana Custeau
Jonathan Friedstat
Geeta Gupta
Nancy Karner
Lema Kikuchi
Bianca Moore
Samantha Ory
Daniela Rus
Elina Street
Ellen Wallace

Rajni Govindjee
Jayati Datta Mitra
Anu Nehru
Vicky Ruleman
Elisabet de los Pinos
Katia Karalis
Linda Li
Melissa Carling
Penny Dash
Christopher Rucinski
Leanne Erdberg
Judah Rosner
Leanne Erdberg
Taylem Frost
Judah Rosner
Anne Miller
Ria Yang 

THE FUNDRAISING CONCERT

The Kellis Family kindly opened their home to the Boston community to kick start fundraising for the tour for an intimate launch event on May 17th, 2019. My outrageously talented and generous colleagues Jonathan Salman (cello) and Richard Rivale (piano) leant their artistry to the cause performing a Bach cello suite and Beethoven sonata before I joined them for some Schumann Dichterliebe, Sound of Music and Billy Joel. The concert was followed by a brief presentation of my music and what a composer does. Thank you to everyone who came out to support and of course to Lucile and Manolis for generously hosting such an event in their home and inviting their local community to participate.

CONNECTICUT SUMMERFEST

(HARTFORD, CT)

Hartford, Connecticut for Connecticut Summerfest was my first stop. Connecticut Summerfest was an amazing and flawlessly run 10 day experience, my congratulations to their team. I worked with Hub New Music a Boston based quartet to premiere A Curious Misadventure. Hub are a great bunch of characters and very sensitive and highly skilled artists. We had lots of rehearsal time and I was incredibly happy with the performance – they are a phenomenal group and really engaged with the music (I even heard them singing and whistling it around the festival between rehearsals) which showed in the premiere. The faculty were superstars and I had 4 insightful lessons with Miguel del Aguila, Aaron Jay Kernis, Laura Kaminsky and Robert Carl. Sharing our music and artistic practice with each other in daily seminars, I got to know some remarkable composing and performer colleagues from all over (including an old friend from Perth!)

CHARLOTTE NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL

(CHARLOTTE, NC)

Charlotte New Music Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina was my second stop. In Charlotte I worked with Beo String Quartet, a Philadelphia-based quartet, on my second string quartet Fede. Though Beo were not the quartet to premiere the work, their input in refining and workshopping the piece was incredibly valuable and an important part of the work’s successful premiere. An important part of attending CNMF was interacting with performers and artists from outside my usual north-east bubble, I made so many wonderful friends, they even helped me experience some ‘Southern Culture’. As part of daily seminars, I gave a presentation on a series of my works, including my work for voice and cello based on the Paul Laurence Dunbar poem “Sympathy”. Following my presentation a mezzo soprano named Alanna Scott  from Louisiana approached me and asked to perform it back at Louisiana State University (GO TIGERS!) and in November, 2019 she did! I got to attend so many great concerts and meet established groups including Loadbang and Transient Canvas and had great lessons Marc Mellits (who also taught me a bit about my Romanian side) and Lawrence Dillon.

ATLANTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL

(WATERVILLE, ME)

Atlantic Music Festival (AMF) at Colby College in the secluded town of Waterville, Maine was the last stop of the tour and I was there for about a month. Every morning there was a composers seminar with one of the guest faculty, who were extremely accomplished accomplished composers. The remainder of the day would be split between workshops, lessons, rehearsals and concert performances (of which there were many). I had eight inspiring lessons with Amy Beth Kirsten, David Ludwig, Pierre Jalbert, Christopher Dobrian, Donald Crockett, Reiko Fueting, George Tsontakis and Melinda Wagner, and attended more concerts in that month that I would have in a year (at least it felt that way!). I. While at the festival I worked with the Atlantic Music Contemporary Ensemble on the premiere of my second string quartet Fede. There wasn’t much time allocated for rehearsals, though luckily the group were highly skilled artists and the score was sufficiently clear all in all making for a great outcome. Fede received a warm reception at its premiere, and some friends even trekked out and visited town to watch the performance! While at AMF I also participated in an orchestra reading session for my work Sfidare for String Orchestra.

The reading session was 25 minute with the festival orchestra to run through and record the work, which given the work is approximately 11 minutes long, made for quiet the challenge! I was fortunate to work with a young up and coming conductor from the Sibelius Academy in Finland, James Kahane. Together we carefully planned how to get across what we needed in the time that we had. Thankfully the reading session went well and received positive feedback from a lot of the players. I was exposed to a lot of talented people and great human beings for a protracted period of time which meant when I left these festival as a better artist and with new friends and colleagues whom I remained connected with outside the festival as well.

WORK I: A CURIOUS MISADVENTURE

Performed by Hub New Music at Connecticut Summerfest, Hartford Connecticut on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019.

PROGRAM NOTE: “A Curious Misadventure” has undergone six title changes over the course of its composition. The spirit of this work stemmed from my own feelings of excitement, awe and wonder (with a hint of danger) watching Space-X launch and land three rocket boosters for the first time. I remember a sense of adventure, cautiousness, fear, and eventually loneliness as the small payload of the rocket took off and then hurtled into orbit, looking insignificant and lost amid the scope of the greater universe behind it. While these sets of feelings and experiences were a map, the piece took on a character of its own as it unfolded. This perhaps echoed my own journey to America which was full of a similar excitement and fear, and feelings of insignificance and being lost in the vastness of New York City. The work shifted towards becoming more contemplative of a journey of mishaps, persistence and unexpected beauty, rather than something explicitly prescriptive or programmatic.

SEE FULL WORK IN CATALOGUE

WORK II: STRING QUARTET #2: “FEDE” (FAITH)

Premiered by The AMF Contemporary Ensemble at Atlantic Music Festival, Waterville, Maine on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 .

PROGRAM NOTE: “Fede” is Italian for “Faith”. I was initially reluctant to title this work as I felt its nature to be fairly self-evident upon listening; or at least, I was hoping for the work’s significance to be determined by the listener’s experience, rather than a title. From an abstract perspective, however, this work might be considered an expression of faith (though not necessarily in the religious sense) set against grief, isolation and healing.

The majority of the melodic content in the work is created through the lyrical use of natural harmonics. These define very fragile, ethereal gestures in certain sections – sections which are then developed and contrasted with more strained vibrato in fully-stopped passages. Throughout the work, the quartet always remains muted, even in the various extremes of register, creating a more sombre and at times strained quality – a concept of struggle hushed by inevitability.

SEE FULL WORK IN CATALOGUE

WORK III: SFIDARE FOR STRING ORCHESTRA

PROGRAM NOTE: “Sfidare” is Italian for “Defy” and Romanian for “Defiance”. It’s interesting how art, whether deliberately or not, can echo undercurrents in the artist’s life during the time of its creation. This work was originally a string quartet, at its premiere, the work bore only the name “String Quartet No.1.” It was only after I wrote this piece that I realised it was a statement of empathy and hope for individuals whom I knew to be enduring hardship, yet continued nonetheless. This work is titled as a tribute to any who must defy to declare their place.

SEE FULL WORK IN CATALOGUE