April 3, 2019

In early 1914, Holst heard a performance of Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra. This seminal experience along with a suggestion from a friend led Holst to begin composing his famous suite for large orchestra, The Planets. However, many don't know that he first comp...

March 14, 2019

I retired from a 30+ year professional playing career 10 months ago to the day. Retire is a funny word because I hardly feel retired. Since before that date, I have been the president of the Denver Musicians Association (Local 20-623 of the American Federation of Music...

March 14, 2019

I'm working on a large brass ensemble transcription (gasp) of highlights from a Puccini opera. I always immensely enjoyed playing Puccini's operas even though the low brass parts are sparse (understatement). The music is beautiful for so many reasons, but I particularl...

September 23, 2018

I might have tried to transcribe something as awesome as the first movement of Mahler's 5th Symphony decades ago - I might have even thought it would have been successful.

The truth is, it takes years of experience learning from successes and, more importantly, failures...

July 29, 2018

A single yellow bloom will really pop in a bush of red ones, even though they are all roses.

March 21, 2018

I've played on the same mouthpiece since I was in high school - my teacher handed me an old Conn Helleberg style mouthpiece when I was 16, and with the exception of a few brief periods of experimentation, I have not strayed far away from that. I'm always amused at my t...

March 18, 2018

A while back, I wrote an entry called 4 Dimensional Texture where I identified 4 basic ways to group instruments in a large ensemble.

March 9, 2018

I usually have three or four arranging projects on the front burners and many more unfinished projects in my "work in progress" file.

Maybe because last summer I had just told the world that I don't like to transcribe orchestral music, thus suggesting to myself that I c...

December 5, 2017

However, in my brass ensemble writing, I'll write passages for a grouping of trumpets when the music calls for it, and/or as a contrast in color or density in a score. Likewise, a trombone trio or quartet passage embedded within an arrangement can add variety or in...

December 3, 2017

Recently, I've undertaken some large engraving projects - I'm making clean versions of the Tchaikovsky ballets. This may seem a little silly at first, but having spent a good deal of my playing career in the pit, I grew frustrated with looking at music that was publish...

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