Hilltop Diary, September 21, 2021

It’s been an exciting time at the Hilltop, with the performances and guests coming into town for Crystal’s show, The Music Man, which is about to enter its final weekend. She has felt privileged to be part of such a fine production, with great singing and impressive dance numbers.

Crystal herself has glowed and given a spellbinding performance in her big solo numbers. Look for some Music Man videos and still photos on her web site, in due course (see link above).

As for me, this past week I have had a flurry of correspondence regarding the budget and contracts for the Parma Recordings CD of my new symphony (for large symphony orchestra, 96 musicians), to be recorded in six months: March 17 (recorded dress rehearsal), March 19 (recorded live concert), and March 20 (recording session for additional patches and choices in editing).

The live concert on March 19 (at the Ingram Performing Arts Center on the Vanderbilt University campus) will be open to the public at no charge – save the date! Of course, we will ask everyone to be as quiet as a mouse, since we will be recording. I will then fly to New Hampshire to oversee the digital editing and mixing of the CD, which also will have other music on it. This will be my fourth CD/album acting in the official role of Producer, as well as being composer.

My articles on music for The Epoch Times, two a month, are now also regularly appearing in their national print edition, altogether with over a million readers. My last article on the bizarre instruments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art appeared on September 15, and my newest article, a recommended playlist of both popular and classical music written about the autumn season, will appear by the end of September. It is hard to think of new ideas every month, but somehow they keep coming, because Crystal usually helps me brainstorm for new ideas over breakfast.

I am already preparing my keynote address for next month, for the national conference of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, which is based in Pasadena but will be held virtually. At the conference, papers will be read by various scholars from several universities on topics suggested by topics in my book, The Sound of Beauty. A time to put on a coat and tie for the Zoom session in my home office but am rather relieved not to have to go to Los Angeles in its current state. I’ll report here how it all went.

Raffaella 2

For me, though, the biggest news is that I’ve launched back into composing full time, after a good long break from finishing my second symphony. I’m working on the first of several short pieces for large symphony orchestra that will work or can be adapted for the new ballet to be created in honor of the late ballerina Raffaella Stroik.

The first piece has the working title, “Upon Entering the Wondrous Castle.” These pieces can, of course, also function as a suite for orchestra in a concert performance without ballet, just as we often hear Prokofiev’s or Tchaikovsky’s ballet music in the concert hall. Raffaella was a lovely young prima ballerina with the St. Louis Ballet, whose tragic death drew national attention. The impresarios are working toward the creation of a fairytale kind of story that mirrors her life. They are in the fundraising phase now, also still looking for just the right choreographer who is willing to work in a traditional style. Above is a photo of Raffaella. Best wishes in your own endeavors till next time!

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One comment

  1. Great piece. By the way, State Representative Johnny Garrett is “front and center” about naming you Composer Laureate when session resumes in January. Stay tuned!


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