an annotated Linkography…
Composers who I’m friends with and who I think are really top notch
Colin DeJong – Colin’s a great friend, first rate singer and pianist, and a budding conductor – in addition to being a superbly talented young composer. Studies at IU.
David M. Gordon – Not to be confused with any other composers purporting to be called David Gordon, this DMG is the real deal. He was my first composition teacher and had a profound impact on my views and tastes concerning music. His music is raucous.
John Leszczynski – A low-key brilliant kid and a bad-ass saxophonist. I’ve conducted some of his music – it makes you count like hell, but it’s viscerally and intellectually thrilling. A real sweetheart to boot.
Gabe Lubell – As much as I detest MySpace pages, I do love Gabe and his music, so click away! Gabe’s compulsive CD purchasing habit makes him a dangerous person to be around, but worth the risk. Conducting his music is a true pleasure.
Teddy Niedermaier – Don’t let his ultra-goofy picture fool you — Teddy is as serious a composer as you can get. He writes BIG music, both in terms of length and thematic scope. And yet, there’s never a dull moment.
Composers I wish I knew and I think are top notch
Alex Kotch – A really talented composer of acoustic and electronica/dance music, this guy was obnoxiously born in the same year as me and took too much of the talent alloted to ’83 babies.
Andrew Staniland – I read about this guy (New Yorker?) a few months ago. I especially dig his terrifying electronic compositions.
Daníel Bjarnason – Young Icelandic composer/conductor. Records on Bedroom Community (along with Nico Muhly, see below). His music is stunning, beautiful, moving, and a bunch of other great things. His album Processions was one of the great pleasures of 2010.
David Harned Johnson – I read about this guy on Daniel Stephen Johnson’s Blog. I wonder if he’s any relation… somehow, I’m guessing not. Anyway, don’t let his bare-bones web site fool you — this guy’s got the skeelz to pay the beelz, big time. I highly recommend his recent CD. It’s always great to find another composer who’s still willing to desecrate ‘La Folia’.
Jefferson Friedman – I can’t remember how I first found out about this guy, but suffice to say, his String Quartet No. 2 which was paired with some Corligliano on a recent Corigliano Quartet album has made for excellent listening.
Kenji Bunch – It’s kind of hard not to like Kenji Bunch’s music. It’s straight-up wear-it-on the sleeve romanticism, but what’s not to like about that? His music strikes me as very honest and I can only surmise that he’s as successful as he is for all the right reasons.
Lee Actor – This guy writes really first class orchestral music. He lives in Palo Alto and conducts the resident orchestra of that town. Interestingly, he spent the better part of his life designing video games.
Nathan Kind Currier – Another recent “discovery”, this guy’s music is definitely worth checking out… I’ll give a more complete opinion later.
Nico Muhly – Anything that one can say about Nico Muhly has already been said. I’ll just add that I think he’s a true genius, I read his blog religiously, and his web site is in many respects an inspiration for mine. To clarify, I don’t know Nico Muhly, but I did meet him once, when he came to Silver Spring, MD last summer and played the baddest-ass show I’ve ever seen with Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett.
He autographed my CD thusly:
Boy was I smitten.
Timothy Andres – A Yalee who recently had a big premiere by the LA Phil Green Umbrella series, conducted by none other than John Adams. Clearly, a major career is afoot. I find his music wholly engrossing.
Zachary Wadsworth – This is a composer whose website I recently stumbled onto. I’m particularly fond of his choral works.
Idols and Mentors
Alfred Schnittke – Top 3, all time. PS. the link isn’t really “about” Schnittke, per se.
Easley Blackwood – my former teacher and mentor; a brilliant man and an unjustly neglected talent.
Leonard Bernstein – I’m just nuts about Lenny, though I’m not so keen on this web site… although if you poke around enough, you can dig up some great info.
Stephen Sondheim – America’s (the world’s?) greatest living composer (even if he wouldn’t autograph my ITW score…)
Amy Briggs – Smokin’ hot new music pianist and Hyde Parker, go-to girl for the CSO MusicNOW, all around badass.
The Dead Superheroes Orchestra – My friend Mark Winston’s project, his music really defies categorization. He has kind of a big goth following, but the music really isn’t “Goth” at all. Mark writes really excellent, intricate string arrangements that I’ve been privileged to play a number of times, in venues ranging from seedy Chicago basement bars to the living rooms of Barack Obama’s neighbors.
The Gaudete Brass Quintet – Crazy-virtuosic brass players. I wrote basically all of my music for brass for these people and they have been so gracious in playing it all. They gig and tour so much, I think they defy physics by performing in multiple venues simultaneously.
Katinka Kleijn – Bitchin’ cellist of every kind of music. Katinka is so sweet and has really helped me a lot.
Svetlana Belsky – Russian half of the Belsky-Maxwell Piano Duo. If Jennifer had a web site, I’d put it up here too.
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – currently pursuing my MM. in Orchestral Conducting with David Effron and Arthur Fagen (tag team).
University of Chicago Department of Music – where I got my AB in Music (honors in composition) studying mainly with Easley (above).
Hyde Park Youth Symphony – my first job as a music director/conductor and still my favorite of all my experiences.
I grow weary of linking… needless to say, this list is just a smattering of my interests, tastes, and friends. More to come.