Hearing It Performed

My busy season for writing commissions is behind me, but that means the busy season for hearing commissions is here.

I don’t think I’ll ever not float four feet off the ground when I hear music I wrote performed for the first time. Yesterday I was sent an MP3 rehearsal recording – just a “check in” recording to get my input. When I heard this arrangement performed that previously had only existed in my head, my feet promptly left the ground.

As a conductor, I am always working to do justice to the composers’ work, and am anxious about falling short of their ideal.

But as a composer and arranger, I am always inspired by even the earliest, roughest recordings – because to take something that was previously only in my head, and transfer it into human voices is the most remarkable alchemy I can find.

It’s one more way I know I’m on the right path: like the joy a surgeon feels when a surgery goes perfectly or a chef feels on seeing satisfied faces after a delicious meal, the joy I feel when my creativity is realized into the world tells me I’m doing something valuable.

What fires you up? What lifts you off the ground, and can you figure out a way to do it more?

(Postscript: as I finished this post, I received another MP3 sent to me, of the piece being premiered tomorrow by the Livingston County Choirs. As soon as I finish, I’m off to listen for the first time to “Always Something Sings” performed by the three combined commissioning choirs! If you’re in the Howell area on 4/22, please join me at the premiere.)