Hilltop Diary, April 29, 2022

There are only a few bits of news to tell this time. The weather has remained unseasonably cold for this time of year here, so gardening has not progressed too much, but our chlamydia plants have very pretty blooms coming on and starting their big climb up and around the trellis. I planted some chive seeds indoors and hope they will grow this year, as they taste very good sprinkled on eggs.

flowers 4.29.22

Since we last spoke (if I may use that expression), I signed the formal contract to compose the new ballet, with about ten months to write 80-90 minutes for large orchestra. I’m excited and will be able to really dig in after we get the new symphony recorded and postproduction done by the end of May. I’ve been talking with the conductor about particulars of interpretation and also seeing if the massive set of parts can fit airline carry-on requirements (barely). I would not trust these players’ parts to a checked bag on three different planes internationally.

I posted this on Facebook, but I made what I think is a pretty fun short video demonstrating the music-box contraption I invented to use in my symphony. But I’ll put it here, too, in case you didn’t see it.

Vanderbilt University released a lovely announcement and article with interview about the Composer Laureate of Tennessee designation I received, which you can read HERE. The University of Tennessee Knoxville has also now done an article with interview, soon to be published in all their publications. Watch their news feed for that.

The School of Music finally had a lovely reception this week for my retirement and the retirement of several others over the last two years, and they presented me with some crystal cocktail glasses with the university logo etched on them and a nice bottle of wine. It was good to talk with the fellow retirees and still active faculty. This week I also had a very fun dinner out at Nashville’s English Pub in the Gulch area downtown with Vanderbilt’s orchestra and choral conductors, both of whom will have conducted the recordings on my upcoming album, the choral music here and the orchestral in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Crystal, whom I call the star of the show (the Kurek show, I mean, among others), opened as Rosalind in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” last weekend, to much praise, and begins her second weekend of shows tonight. Of course I will be there again! Last night she did a smashing concert with her 3-8 grade student choirs at the school where she teaches by day. And she has, in between Shakespeare, already started rehearsals for the musical “The Secret Garden,” which the Roberson County Players will perform in June. Wow.

Till next time, stay safe and happy!

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