• Asleep at a concert
    Articles

    Who cares about live music?

    Time for a rant/ rave/ vent, methinks. It’s been a while. Bear with me: Who cares about live music? Everywhere I look there are stories of musicians being yelled off their stage, performers crying for “decent” pay, orchestras and opera houses closing down, music schools diminishing beyond recognition, and a host of other music-related news that simply doesn’t play a pretty tune. So, who actually still cares about music? Musicians do (instrumentalists, singers, composers, conductors). Politicians will if it makes them popular. Some film producers and directors do. Music writers and administrators do. Music teachers and professors do. Some corporate executives hoping to make their company look good by supporting local…

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    The Last “Substance Leader” – Nelson Mandela

    Well, we can decidedly close an entire volume of human history: another era has come to a close. Although we still have a 110 year old pianist who remembers meeting Gustav Mahler, we have lost the last bastion of trustworthy social leadership. Nelson Mandela worked for a living despite his royal heritage, and all the while stood up for equality principles before finally leading an entire nation of different peoples into a more cohesive and prosperous future for all. At least for a while. I’m sure being in prison for 27 years imbued much substance that supported his convictions. When any leader takes a stance on anything, many other people…

  • British American Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown and the Clearwater Chorus
    Articles

    Back to Choral Roots

    A couple of months ago I was appointed Conductor of the 40+ year old Clearwater Chorus. It’s an ensemble of people who like to sing, and encourages adults of varying ages and abilities to make and share music together. At least, that’s what it is now. Although not titled a “Director” that is effectively my role and as a result, I’ve grabbed hold of the reins and am guiding the ensemble through a new perspective: who we have and what we do now is what we are, and as long as we work together to share music, we’ll be doing something of value to the world. [Click here: I’m giving…

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    Next Piece: A Brass Mirror

    According to the countdown clock on this page there are now LESS than seven years for me to complete the whole project (click here to find out what the project is all about). All is well, though – I seem to be on track. Already I’ve completed two compositions in this massively huge project, and here’s the latest one:   This piece is based on Psalm 143, which is one of the many Lament psalms (58 in all). It has a clear structure, thanks to Longman & Garland’s commentary, and that made constructing the piece very simple. It starts with an introduction, then to a conversational Prayer requesting righteous thinking and…

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    I’ve got 7 years left – #PsalmQuest Compositions

    Some of my compositions were recently submitted as materials for another Masters-level qualification which would permit me to teach higher education in the USA – something my experience and approach is well suited to. The application was not approved, and that hurt. When I shared the assessor’s report with my select circle, most of the reactions were along the lines of “These comments make no sense,” and “I haven’t got a clue what he’s on about.” One comment suggested how the assessor seemed to be looking for negative things to say and ended up saying the same thing about each piece that was submitted. There is no recourse to appeal the…