• 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…

  • The Towaco Story by Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown
    Articles

    Why the next 20 years of classical music will smash the last 20

    OPINION. That’s all this is. Totally unmerited, unfounded, unresearched, unverified 🙂 I’m in the UK right now, where I spent my childhood and early professional career. My teens and current professional career were/are in the USA. My college life was mostly spent up & down the UK, throughout East & West Europe, and later a sojourn in a couple of countries in the Southern parts of Africa. Next stop? Ah well, wouldn’t you like to know! But as I’m sitting here for a few moments, pondering the extraordinary life I’ve lived split primarily between two continents, cultures and languages (yes, I’m bilingual: I speak English and American), I find it remarkable how much…

  • Stephen P Brown Warrior Peace
    Articles

    New psalm composition #6: Warrior Peace

    Well, this was an unexpected mammoth! (If you are not aware of my current composition quest, click here to read the introduction.) I knew that composing for larger ensembles would take time, and was sort of risking things a little when I decided to write for a larger-than-normal ensemble but I didn’t plan for this piece to take a full month. Think of a chamber orchestra that plays Mozart and Haydn symphonies. Then take away all the string players. That’s what this composition is for! It’s not a standard combination of instruments, so I decided to call it a “Chamber Orchestra Non-Strings” ensemble. Says what it is, right?! The actual…

  • Conductor Composer Maestro Stephen P Brown / Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Articles

    How I compose: Step 2 – Instrumentation

    A couple of weeks ago I shared how I start composing each of the pieces in my composition quest. It seemed to be a popular post! So after I’ve read the psalm, understood its meaning through commentary, and established the structure for my piece, the next step in composing music for me is choosing the instrumentation. Instrumentation. The purpose of this quest is to improve my composing skills. One of my dream goals is to finish the quest by writing a piece of music based on Psalm 33 for large chorus and full orchestra. That’s a lot of people and parts, and like an Olympic Triathlete or Astronaut, there is a…

  • Articles

    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…