Diary of an Orchestrator: Five Decades in Music

This is a special birthday post from your orchestration teacher at Orchestration Online. A couple of years ago, I uploaded a video about turning 50, and charted my own development as a composer. Today, I want to contemplate the punctuation of decades. Where were you musically a decade ago[…]

Diary of an Orchestrator – Coming Back to Yourself

I’m starting the morning like I usually do: propped up against some pillows, typing away with my laptop rested on a carved chest from Singapore, my cat happily purring his fool head off on my lap. Through the lounge windows, the lights surrounding Wellington harbour gleam as they surround its inky darkness […]

Forging my first macProVideo Orchestration Course: Overconfidence, Dissolution, and Redemption

I’m a confirmed optimist. It probably has something to do with my very early years. A true university brat, I actually lived out ages 0-4 on the UCLA campus. Back in the early 1960’s, there was a quiet enclave on the west side of campus called “Married Students Housing,” where my family lived while my father pursued his degree in Language Studies […]

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, days 6 & 7

Thursday, 16 January 9:42 p.m. after a long day. It’s good to get back to this journal after a few days off, somewhat enforced. After leaving Collingwood, I dropped in on a composer friend of mine who lived not too far from there, around the Tasman Bay area where the weather was a bit nicer. …

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, day 4

Tuesday, 7 January, Part 2 After re-scoring the Keating yesterday, I sent the whole thing along with the Tubular Bells score to my MD, and got a good response back. That’s what matters, really. A thumbs-up at this point in my career is more about the relief of saving me from rewrites than it is …

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, day 3

Tuesday, 7 January, Part 1 I’ve been slack about my journal for the past two days, and finally catching up today. Well, I did finish the Ronan Keating song “When You Say Nothing At All” in one day on Sunday the 5th, but strangely it was a lot more of an effort than the awesome …

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, day 2

Saturday, 4 January 2013 A very exciting day. It’s hard to complain about a day that starts good, flows well, and ends great. Today I decided to orchestrate Tubular Bells, and I made it all the way through 128 bars and 3.5 minutes. I was helped enormously in this by the semi-orchestral nature of the …

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, day 1

Friday, 3 January 2013 – Collingwood, New Zealand Day 1 of work on the Mission Estate orchestration job. It’s good to be back to it again, though the circumstances are a little strange. It’s 4:50pm as I start this journal entry, leaning back from my little workdesk in a little cabin on the South Island …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 3: Back in L.A.

It’s close to midnight at the end of my first full day in Southern California. I’m about to shut up shop mentally, but have to write a few words about coming back to my birthplace. It’s strange, but I’m feeling a lot circles closing with this performance – returning to places where ideas and thoughts …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 1 (April 2 NZ calendar)

6:30 A.M. The lights of Wellington glitter jewel-like in the velvety blackness outside, making a circle around the harbor. I’ve been up since ten past 6:00, which is average for me. As my career has gotten ever more focused on orchestration, I’ve found myself getting up earlier and earlier in the morning, sometimes as early …