Skip navigation

Category Archives: Wet Ink Concert

In spring 2014, I continued my DMA studies in wind conducting at Arizona State University. I studied primarily with Gary Hill and Wayne Bailey, but I also worked with Timothy RussellWilliam Reber, and David Schildkret.  I was involved with the bands plus a lot of other very interesting projects!

The semester started with the combined forces of ASU’s Wind Orchestra and about half of the Wind Ensemble going to the Arizona Music Educators Association conference on January 31.  They played Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy under the direction of Gary Hill to an audience of band directors and music teachers from around the state.

2 days later on February 2, Serena Weren had her doctoral conducting recital, which included the Stravinsky Octet and the Octandre of Edgard Varèse.

10 days later, Serena and I and the orchestral conducting TAs conducted the Concert of Soloists, featuring the winners of the ASU School of Music’s Concerto Competition with full orchestra/band:

Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra – Henri Tomasi, conducted by me, featuring the amazing Kristi Hanno on clarinet

Concertino for Tuba and Wind Orchestra – Rolf Wilhelm, conducted by Serena Weren

and more!

The Concert Band, under my direction, had its first concert on March 1.  The original plan was to play outdoors and call the concert “A Sunny Afternoon”, not an unreasonable assumption in the desert.  However, Mother Nature was not pleased with my concert-planning hubris, and it rained torrentially that day, the first rainfall of 2014 in the Phoenix area.  So we moved the concert indoors to Gammage 301 and called it “Rain or Shine”.  We had a wonderful turnout, and played spectacularly well.  The repertoire was:

The Black Horse Troop – John Philip Sousa

Country Gardens – Percy Grainger, arr. John Philip Sousa

Alligator Alley – Michael Daugherty

Music for Shakespeare (first movement) – Edward Green, arr. Pease

Cowboy Rhapsody – Morton Gould, arr. Bennett

West Side Story Selection – Leonard Bernstein, arr. Duthoit

Fandango – Frank Perkins, arr. Werle

The Wind Ensemble (under Wayne Bailey) and Wind Orchestra (under Gary Hill) together presented “Under the Influence” on March 4, featuring music influenced by other music.  Selections included:

Wind Ensemble:

Chimes of Liberty – Edwin Franko Goldman

If Thou Be Near – Johann Sebastian Bach

Impercynations – Steven Bryant, conducted by me

Blue Shades – Frank Ticheli

Wind Orchestra:

Variants on a Medieval Tune – Norman Dello Joio, conducted by Serena Weren

The Frozen Cathedral – John Mackey

Gone – Scott McAllister

Point Blank – Paul Dooley

On March 15, Gary Hill conducted Mozart’s Gran Partita KV 361 (370a) at the CBDNA West/Northwest conference in Reno with an ASU chamber ensemble made up of studio faculty and top students.  It was very warmly received, even getting a commendation from distinguished music historian Richard Taruskin, who was an honored guest at the conference.

The weekend of April 10-12 ASU played host to the Arizona All-State festival.  UMKC director of bands Steve Davis conducted the All-State band in Vincent Persichetti’s Symphony no. 6 and other works.

On April 17, the Wind Orchestra hosted special guests John Mackey, Steven Bryant, and Joe Alessi.  They were in residence for several days, attending rehearsals and other special events.  Mr. Alessi did a trombone masterclass for the ASU players.  Bryant and Mackey were joined by Michael Markowski for a question and answer session with the ASU composition studio.  Bryant and Mackey also joined Gary Hill in an interview with KBAQ classical music radio.  All of this was buildup for “Carnival V: Concertos”, featuring two massive and wonderful pieces:

Harvest: Concerto for Trombone – John Mackey

Concerto for Wind Ensemble – Steven Bryant

On April 22, the Wind Ensemble (under Wayne Bailey) and Concert Band (under me) presented “Wet Ink”, featuring new wind band music written since 2010.  In preparation for this, the Wind Ensemble got to work with John Mackey, and the Concert Band with both Michael Markowski and Chris Lamb, who wrote a new piece especially for us.  The repertoire:

Wind Ensemble:

Xerxes – John Mackey, conducted by me

Rest – Frank Ticheli

The Three Embraces – Carter Pann

Concert Band:

Jalan-jalan di Singapura (Singapore Walkabout March) – Yasuhide Ito

City Trees – Michael Markowski

Les Cités obscures – Benoît Chantry

Crypto-Atlas – Chris Lamb

All in all, it was a great semester filled with music spanning over 200 years.  This DMA experience has NOT disappointed!

Chris Lamb (b. 1989) is an award-winning, American-born composer who has lived in various locales around the United States and the world (which you can read about further on his wonderful website).  His compositions include several works for band, a handful of orchestral pieces, a wealth of chamber music, and a three-act opera.  2014’s Crypto-Atlas was written on a commission from Andy Pease (yes, that’s me) and the Arizona State University Concert Band for their Wet Ink concert, meant to feature new compositions for band.  Asked for a grade 3 work using extended techniques, Lamb incorporated aleatory, hisses and tongue-clicks, and instrumental air sounds into the piece, making for a truly unique yet accessible sound world.  He provides the following program note:

Across the United States mysterious beasts are sighted every year.  From a Nessie-like creatures in the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Powell, AZ to a Giant Killer Octopus in Oklahoma and a Winged Alligator-Snake in Washington State, these beasts have enraptured our land and captured our imagination.  The question of “what lies beneath that body of water” haunts us and the unexplained phenomena that can only be attributed to the presence of such mythical creatures.

These wondrous beasts enhance our country’s rich history.  The answer the unanswerable and inspire awe in believers and skeptics alike.  They are America’s mythology, supernatural, and tall-tales all wrapped up into a legend that will live for years to come.

Below is the world premiere performance, with ASU Concert Band under my baton on April 22, 2014.  I encourage you to read along in the perusal score that Lamb provides!  Note that it starts VERY softly – give it a minute or so to get going.

Belgian composer Benoît Chantry (b. 1975) writes music for wind bands, musical theatre, and more, with a penchant for mixing styles.  He started music study early at the Tournai (Doornik) Conservatory, where he is now a professor and director of the wind band.  He also teaches at the Belgian Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels.  Read more about him at windmusic.orgTierolff publishing, and the European Contemporary Orchestra.  He also has a MySpace page where you can hear more of his music.

Chantry wrote Les Cités obscures in 2013 for the 20th anniversary of Hafabra Music (which published the piece) and its founder Louis Martinu.  The piece is based on a collection of graphic novels of the same name by the Belgian comic book artist François Schuiten and writer Benoît Peeters.  The series takes place on a counter-Earth in which individual city-states have developed independent civilizations and architectural styles.  Chantry’s piece attempts to depict the differences between these civilizations, obscured as they are from us and each other.

Listen to a partial recording of Les Cités obscures at Hafabra Music.  It is not on YouTube yet!

The graphic novel series was originally written in French, but translations are available in most Western European languages.  In English, early versions are called “Cities of the Fantastic” or “Stories of the Fantastic”, although more recently fans have started calling them “The Obscure Cities”, a closer (but still approximate) match to the original French.  New volumes are still appearing, since both creators are still very much active.  Read more on wikipedia or The Obscure Cities, a site run by the American publishers of the series.  For a more complete picture of the series, check out a Google Image Search!