New Ballet Suite and Concerto + Film

Posted: May 31, 2018 in Composing Insights, Press

Hot off the press is the newly composed and completed ballet suite, Dumas – Pushkin Suite. Mentioned in my latest blog, it remains highly anticipated in Europe (France, Russia, Prague, and Berlin). It’s a homage to two of the greatest literary artists since the early nineteenth century, Alexandre Dumas and Alexander Pushkin. It’s a twenty-two minute epic suite for orchestra.

Up next, I am completing my long awaited concerto for zheng, orchestra, and women’s chorus, Guanyin of the Southern Sea. This work has been almost nine years in the making! Revision after revision. It should be completed no later than December 2018. I’ve contacted some incredible zheng performers as well. I have to admit that I’ve actually known some for quite awhile. This work has taken so long because I’ve been wanting to figure out how to approach writing for zheng, not repeating myself when compared to previous works I’ve written for zheng. The guzheng is one of my favorite instruments, and I don’t like repeating myself. Oh yeah, here’s a little side note…Guanyin of the Southern Sea will receive premieres in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Singapore.

Revisions to Reclamation and Bolivar are also underway; with no set deadline for either. I’ve got enough concert works in the shed (incomplete sketches, proposed ideas, and finished works needing amendments) to keep myself busy in-between media scoring assignments.

Film scoring mock-ups, utilizing the many sound libraries for my mock-up cues, have provided me with a new inspiration. I’ve been re-introduced to certain combinations of colors that I’ve long since abandoned or have forgotten about. Since the fall of 2017, these colors have found their way into my concert works. Some pretty awesome combinations of instruments that I’ve been using. I’m sure you’ll like to know which! But, now is NOT the time.

Once upon a time, my scoring process was quite different! I started out as a media composer before sound libraries existed. I’ve come a long way from pencil and sketch paper, external modules and synths racks to the current one-stop DAW.  So, I’ve grown with the new advancements in tech and so forth since the early 1990’s. It’s wonderful! However, I continue to blend the new with the old.

While on the subject of media scoring, I use a few different DAWS depending on the size of the project and the required speed of turnaround. Pro Tools is always a mainstay for mixing and mastering. On the creative side (the writing end of it), I prefer Digital Performer and/or Logic Pro for the larger projects, and for projects that have a lengthy timeline for turnaround. On the smaller projects; those often requiring a quick turnaround, I’ll work in Studio One Pro. Although the video engine in Studio One isn’t the greatest, it serves my needs for that particular workflow. I use what works best for me; what I’m comfortable with. I could care less about what other composers are using. A composer and/or producer must use those tools that best serve him/her, and that can perform at a high level. It’s about creating the optimum workflow for oneself, and finding the tools that best serve YOU and the people who have hired you.

When prepping my scores, I use Sibelius. I also fidget around a bit with Notion whenever working in Studio One. On larger projects, when I have the time to write and am not rushed, I’ll sketch my cues down on paper with orchestration notes and harmonic outline. I’ll input that into my DAW and will go from there. However, on the smaller projects, I’m at the piano going through sounds and trying things out that way.

Regarding templates, I’ve got a few custom templates for scoring; but generally, I’ll start from scratch with each new project. If I’m really pressed for time, I’ll load up one of my pre-assigned, custom templates and get right into it. Though generally, I like to create a new palette for each assignment. In this regard, it’s the same as when I’m composing a concert work. There’s a story, and that story needs to have a certain ambience to support it.

Until next time!

 

K!

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