So I think that I survived the Earshot readings with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. I made it to Chicago for some decompression (via a summer rock festival) and I feel lighter and heavier at the same time. The reason that I feel lighter is because the readings are over, but I feel heavier due to a sense of accomplishment and knowledge gained.
Firstly I want to thank (in no particular order) Lyn, Michael, John, Roberto, Robert, Derek, Ed, Delta David, Fergus, and the performers and staff of the CSO for such an immensely gratifying experience. Although my piece was completed two years ago, the reading sessions finally provided the necessary opportunity to learn what I needed to learn. I was successful with some of my ideas and visions, and others left me flat on my face. Ironically (or ironically not?), it was the adherence to my ideas with a ham fist and vise-grip that caused the most problems.
That leads to my assessment of the nature of what ACO and Earshot are trying to accomplish. The least successful elements of my piece were the result of relying too much on my mind’s ear and my ideology. The orchestra is a living, breathing, imperfect organism, and writing for orchestra requires skill, preparedness, and efficiency. Although imagination, sincerity and humanity are what I value the most in art, I learned firsthand that these facets must be focused and distilled properly with such a large and varied ensemble. If modern orchestral music is to evolve, then composers must have room to grow through hearing their music. So hats off to Earshot: we need you now more than ever!
Lastly, I want to thank Angel Lam, Tim Sullivan and Yotam Haber for their support. It was quite humbling (after all, humble pie is the very best flavor) to be chosen to participate with three incredibly talented, kind, interesting and supportive people. I felt a strong kinship with them and am quite floored to be one of their peers.
Oh, and let’s not forget Jessie for her selfless early morning airport runs. She deserves a medal.
1. Jeremy Podgursky applauds the orchestra at the close of reading his work Our Bliss, It Comes in Waves.