• 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…

  • 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…

  • Evelyn Glennie marimba
    Articles

    Piece #8: Sonata 2 for Viola, Marimba, Piano

    This is a fun little ditty! Another stab at the traditional Sonata Form, this piece is for a trio of performers: viola, marimba and piano. To my thinking, there is not enough marimba included in the standard instrumentation these days, (click it to tweet it) yet like the saxophone or bass clarinet, it has a great many experts and has become a common option thanks to folk like Evelyn Glennie. Sonata Form Structure This piece is based on Psalm 102 and although it does not follow a similar structure (the focus of this piece was the structure called “Sonata Form“) I did use the content of the psalm to influence the…

  • Articles

    Dedication.

    This week I came across a fascinating exploration of the history of King Arthur’s England. There is so much myth and legend surrounding our dreamy esteem of this perfect man that I’ve often wondered if he really existed. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the knights in shining armor adventures, and one day hope to rid my inhibitions, dress up as a medieval knight, and accompany my wife to a Renfaire (a common American festival that revives many periods of history and fantasy into an entertaining exhibition complete with audience participation, jousts, mead and glass blowing, etc). But until that day arrives, I’ll just basque in the occasional archaeological documentary and…

  • Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown
    Articles

    Tried something new recently?

    This new routine is tough! Getting up an hour earlier every morning isn’t like an on/off switch – it is taking lots of discipline but you know what? I’m getting a lot of work and reading done. But that’s just one new outcome of this Psalm Setting Quest. Another one is being adventurous. If you look through my list of compositions they are mostly for percussion (including piano) and wind instruments. There are a handful of string pieces and one or two that include brass instruments. For some reason, ever since writing a tacky piece for brass quintet, percussion and narrator in college, I’ve avoided composing for brass instruments. So,…