the resurrection of the dead: part two

So, as I sat in this coffee shop, I came to the realization that I have not blogged in quite a while, even though I have had a ton to blog about. So, here is my attempt at catching you all up.

The major thing is that I had a premiere of a piece! The first week of June I was in Virginia working with the Stuart High School wind ensemble on the premiere of Et exspecto, which was very nervewracking, but also fun. The piece was/is _hard_ and contained a lot of things in those 6 minutes that could be kind of difficult for a high schooler to grasp, but these kids and their director, Brian Thomas put a ton of work in, and put up with my old movie references and we had a lot of fun working together, or at least I did. The premiere went really well, and the kids and parents all seemed to respond really well to the piece, which is always nice and appreciated.

The next few days were spent with Doug Martin and the Langley High School band working on their performance of that classic hit, hydrogen jukebox. Doug was actually the one who organized the commission, but through an unfortunate series of events (he got a new job, which I guess is not that unfortunate) he wasn’t able to give the premiere of the piece, so he, wonderfully, decided to do another one of my works to make up for it. It’s always fun to hear old pieces again, especially ones that you wrote WHEN YOU WERE 18 and dumb, and the kids all seemed to have a lot of fun with it, which is exactly what the piece was intended for. It’s interesting to hear how different hydrogen jukebox is from something I would write now, like, say, Et exspecto. All the gestures and style seem so foreign to me now, almost like somebody else wrote it, which is probably not far from the truth. Once again, the kids were great and put up with more old movie references (I don’t know how this came about, but whatever works) and the rehearsals were a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there for the performance, but from all accounts, it went really well, which is always nice. Doug was also a very gracious and wonderful host, and he has the cutest daughter and dog that ever walked on 2 (or 4) legs. (Apparently later on, Doug was playing some Bach around the house, and his daughter asked him to put on “one of Price’s pieces” instead. Take that, J.S.! I’m kid approved.)

Hopefully the other 6 commissioners liked the piece and are going to give performances of it this semester. They have exclusivity until November, which is just in time for all of you to put it on your fall concerts. (Shameless plug.) Tell your friends, band directors, and moms about it.

Moving on, the next 2 weeks were spent in New York City, which was the first non-working vacation I have taken in years and cost far too much money, but it was so worth it. It was also my first trip to New York since I went when I was 6.

A quick aside: When I went on that first trip, all my cousins and aunts and my mom wanted to go ice-skating at Rockefeller Plaza, but I was scared to go, so my mom, quite sacrificially, took me to the Disney store instead. I think about that story a lot and it makes me really sad, so I have promised that I’m going to take her back one day to go ice-skating, and then to the Disney store, obviously. Also, the trip was for my cousin’s 16th birthday. We went to see the Today Show, like you do, and she had a sign that said “Sweet Sixteen and on Today,” even though she had already turned 16 the summer before. (This was around New Year’s.) Well, it just so happened to be Matt Lauer’s birthday, and when they saw the sign, they had to get her on the show. So, my cousin was on national tv under false pretenses.

All in all, I saw 10.5 shows while I was there (we second-acted Annie one night), not including two cabaret shows where I saw Sherie Rene Scott and Judy Kuhn, which was amazing. I could go on and on about the shows, but I will refrain. Just ask me if you want opinions.

I had such an incredible time. I got to meet tons of friends I had only connected with via the Internet, which was amazing. It was so wonderful to know that I had a built-in community while I was there, which took so much fear off of the trip. It was the best time, and exactly what I needed at that point in my life.

I spent the last two weeks working a summer theatre camp in Starkville, MS (shiver), which was very unexpected, but quite welcomed. Their usual accompanist got very sick the week before, so I was hired on a Thursday and had to move in Saturday morning. This camp was unlike any theatre camp I had ever heard of. The first week, they have about twenty or so campers come in. They split them into three groups, and each group writes an act of a jukebox musical. The next two weeks, they bring in the rest of the campers (53 in all) and they put together the whole thing. The writers write exactly enough parts so that each kid has a part. So, as the saying goes, there were no small parts. It made casting an absolute nightmare (3 hours total), but I thought that was just the coolest thing. A big part of my job was getting together arrangements of all the songs and figuring out who needs to sing where and what is a chorus number or a duet or whatever, which was a lot of fun. There was all kinds of music represented, from Nine Inch Nails to Manhattan Transfer to Miley Cyrus. All in all, it was just the best time and full of the coolest people. I made such good friends with a lot of the staff members, and I think there are going to be a lot of cool collaborations coming of it. (Specifically, I think I’m going to be working on two new musical type things.)

Now, I’m spending the next few weeks working on a couple new pieces. One is a piece for piano and wind ensemble that I’ve been wanting to write for a while now, which will premiere with me and the Ole Miss wind ensemble later on in the fall. I’m also finally going to write this sonata for clarinet and piano, as well as working on new orchestrations for Spring Awakening for the Ghostlight student theatre group and working on incidental music for the same group’s production of Almost, Maine later on this semester. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

As I talked about on another forum, I have had the strangest feeling lately that I am going to hurt myself somehow, obviously not on purpose. But every time I pick up a glass or try to step over something, I have this feeling that I’m going to drop it, or stumble and fall somehow. It’s a very Liz Lemon idea of living by yourself in constant fear that you will choke and nobody will be there to give you the Heimlich. I’m sure my psychiatrist would have plenty to say about this. I think it stems from spending so much time this summer with people, and now that I’m back in my normal routine I have to kind of take care of myself, which my brain has interpreted as imminent death and destruction.

I’ve been spending a lot of time holed up into a practice room, tearing apart Phrygian Gates, in preparation for my recital next year of Phrygian Gates, Beethoven Op. 110, and maybe Schumann’s Gesange der Fruhe if I decide to be a total masochist. Phrygian Gates is no doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to learn, but it actually is a lot less harder than it looks. The hardest part so far, besides the crazy 16th note sections, has been trying to find a convincing way to take this 25th minute journey, without it being 25 minutes of “here’s a lot of notes.” It’s very elegantly structured, and I’m trying to find how that translates into the total arc of the piece.

So, know that you know just how crazy I’ve become, you should be prepared to send care packages of coffee, chocolate, and the oft talked about 25th hour of the day. Also, bourbon if you are so inclined. Prayers and good vibes could also work.

Until next time, which hopefully won’t be as long,

pw.

insert gratuitous picture of my puppy.
insert gratuitous picture of my puppy.
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