Return to the States

I haven’t posted anything new for a couple of months because a) I was overwhelmed with all the tasks involved in moving your family and all your stuff back from three years of living overseas, and b) there wasn’t anything to report anyway.

Galaxy Portals was not a winner of the Dallas Wind Symphony Fanfare Competition this year, but I still think they’re a pretty good band (wink).

But some good news has come my way recently–the Grafton (VA) High School Band will be performing Black Tie Blu-bop at the Virginia Music Educators Association In-service Conference in November! Their director, Darren Kirsch, is an old Virginia Tech classmate of mine. I am looking forward to meeting and working with his band sometime in the very near future. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the performance itself, but I am honored and excited that my piece is getting out there!

There’s also news about a possible upcoming commission, but I won’t divulge any details since nothing has been confirmed, and I certainly don’t want to jinx the possibility. I’ve probably said too much already…

Observations from the Berlin Philharmonic

Anne and I went to see the Berlin Philharmonic this past weekend. When I saw that they were performing ‘Petrushka’ and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (two pieces I studied in college), the search for other anniversary destinations was over as far as I was concerned. Thankfully, Anne agreed. šŸ™‚ Of course, the orchestra played fantastic, but I marveled at some other aspects of the experience.

  • The concert was completely sold out, as apparently all of them are, but when they say sold out, they mean sold out. Every seat was filled; there were people standing in the back of the hall, and people sitting in the aisles. It was as packed as a State-side hockey playoff game.
  • It was mostly older people in the audience, but there was a significant representation of younger people, too. (They were the ones in the aisles–would you see this anywhere in the States? On a Saturday? I think not.)
  • Dress ranged from suits and formal dresses to jeans and t-shirts. The young people looked like they would hit the clubs afterward.
  • At the end of Petrushka, the crowd applauded enough to bring the conductor back to the stage three times. This was for Stravinsky.
  • All seven horns stood for the last push of the Mahler, like they were piccolo players playing ‘Stars and Stripes.’ I thought I’d never see anything that gimmicky at a classical music concert, but hey, these guys were rock stars. (No, there was no clapping along. Or mosh pits.)
  • The conductor returned for four curtain calls–the last one after the orchestra had left the stage, the house lights had come up, and half the audience was home.

So in conclusion, I have a lot of work to do. I either a) have to move to Europe, or b) work tirelessly to bring the U.S. to a point where they name streets after conductors:

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…and have monuments erected in honor of composers:
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(Note to my next of kin: When the sculpture of me is made, please made sure I look as heroic as Wagner here. Thanks.)

Moving up

It is a truly momentous day. I have discovered that I can google “j scott mckenzie” and my home page comes up number 1!!!

Now if you drop the ‘J,’ no such luck–that one will take a while to conquer. Did my parents know 30-something years ago that shaking the stigma of a hippie folk singer would be a major professional hurdle?

Today, Google; tomorrow, the world! *Laughs evilly*