3rd International Frank Tichelli Composition Competition

January 2014

Happy to share that two of my band pieces were Finalists for the 3rd International Tichelli Prizes!

“SPIN” was a Finalist in the Advanced Band category (Grade 4-5)


“AND THEN THE SKY WAS CROWNED WITH STARS” was a Finalist in the Beginning Band category

I’m pretty pleased with the 2nd in particular since it’s my first work for band at level 3 and under.  I’m planning on writing more at levels 2-4 and giving band kids more good stuff to play!

Nice to be recognized in a competition named for one of the great writers for band!



TUTTI New Music Festival

I was honored to have had my Quartet in Four Actions selected by the amazing Pittsburgh New Music ensemble for their featured performance at the Tutti Festival!

First, one of my mom, my traveling partner, on the way up, at the Firefly Grill–we stopped there again on the way home, and will stop twice more if I ever do this festival again!


My great friend from graduate school, Jason, and his little girl Amelie.  Awesome that I was close enough to get to see him after too long, and great that he and his family made the trip up to see me and hear my work at the concert.


Our guide and hostess, Mandy.  One of the composition students at Denison, and boy were we lucky to meet her first thing–she showed us how to get everywhere and do everything, and was so nice to us!


Downtown of Granville, OH, and one of the many houses there made of wood and charm



post concert with my mom–so glad she came with me!


Pittsburgh NME performing wonderfully


with Kevin Noe, artistic director and conductor–hope I get to work with him and these guys again soon!



SPIN at the University of Central Oklahoma

December 2012

I have wanted for a while to work with Dr. Brian Lamb and the players at UCO.  Finally I got the chance when he loved my newest band piece and was looking for something like it to fill a program.  They gave a really terrific concert, played well on everything, and gave me a great recording of SPIN.  My thanks to Brian and this Wind Ensemble–really talented kids, and most of them Music Education majors heading out into the world to teach others how to do it.

First, the group:


Really great candid I got of Brian Lamb conducting:


And congratulations all around after a great concert.  Really hope I can work with these guys, and this conductor, again soon!


Premiere of SPIN at Stephen F. Austin State U. in Texas

November 2012

Knew this was going to be a great trip!  Got to visit my old friends Jeff and Tamey, and have a great premiere of SPIN, my new band piece, at SFA.  Really pretty east Texas campus.



And a classic shot of Jeff


And Dr. Tamey Anglley conducting SPIN and smiling with yours truly afterward.  Really good premiere–now, revisions to make this piece even better!





Launch of MUSIVU

September 2012

I’m proud to announce the launch of MUSIVU, the Music Virtual University!  It’s going to be used in conjunction with schools, but the great part is that you don’t need to attend a college of music to get a top-level musical training anymore–you can do it right here with interactive video presentations that will teach everything from the Basic Concepts of Music and Basic Ear Training up through Songwriting, Arranging, Composing, Playing By Ear, and Orchestration.  My half-brother Blake Ellison–technology guru and business expert–is my partner in what I hope will be a successful business as well as provide a much-needed service for everyone who wants to be a great musician. 

You can find us at www.musivu.co

Basic Ear Training - Cover.001

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts

May 2012

Nebraska has a reputation for being flat, and, being on the Great Plains, a reputation for being, well, plain.  But if you thought that would be true of Nebraska City, you’d be as wrong as I was.  With rolling hills and giant old-growth trees, Nebraska City was more like visiting a small town in Ohio or New Jersey.  Or really more like visiting a small town in Ohio or New Jersey in 1963.  But all part of the charm.

The rolling hills are a product of the land flowing down to the river that separates Nebraska from Iowa.  The giant trees are a product of the fact that Nebraska City started Arbor Day, which is a product of the fact that once, someone came to Nebraska city and said “You know what?  This would be a nice place if it wasn’t so flat and… plain here.”  And then planted several thousand trees.

Below, a random business, one of about 500 charming houses, and the great old bank and courthouse building.




The view of my studio complete with computer setup and piano, and view of courtyard adjoining studio.



And the best part–the great group of women I spent the weeks with:  from L to R, 1 and 4 are Pat and Jenni, our staff and administrators–by far the coolest staff of any residency I’ve done–and 2, 3, and 5:  Deborah, Jenni and Jenny, visual artist, poet, and visual artist, respectively.  Sometimes it’s nice to be immersed in a creative arts environment with those who understand your work from the inside and feel your pain.  Good company for a great residency.


OCU Jazz Ensemble Performs "No More Blues"

The Oklahoma City University Jazz Ensemble (which is a Jazz Orchestra or Big Band or whatever you’d like to call this kind of group) gave the second performance (after the OKC Jazz Orchestra gave the premiere at the Petroleum Club in OKC’s Chase Tower) of my arrangement of “No More Blues” with guest artist John Riley, the excellent jazz drummer from New York.  John is one of those very nice guys whose relaxed and soft-spoken demeanor stands in sharp contrast to the fact that he’s an absolute beast at the drum set.

Thanks to John Allen, the ensemble director, and everyone in the group for a wonderful job with my arrangement of this great Jobim tune.

BrightMusic Finale 2011 and "Overture" Premiere

May 2011

The premiere of my Overture to the American Songbook.  Something closer to an arrangement than a composition in the truest sense, the piece was commissioned from me last year to close “Americana,” the finale concert of this season for BrightMusic.  BrightMusic is the best chamber music organization going on in this part of the country, and it was a joy to work with them again.

Unfortunately, the only picture from this event is this one of me with my good friend and uber-clarinetist Chad Burrow apparently trying to conduct each other, or otherwise engage in some kind of effeminate dance.  So, event success, picture fail.

chad & me 1

University of Central Missouri New Music Festival 2011

April 2011

April brought another fun trip—the University of Central Missouri New Music Festival.  Last year, their jazz ensemble played my jazz orchestra piece White Heat.  This year, I had two pieces performed—Uwohali, my solo piano piece, and Song of the Moon, my a capella choral work.  My good friend Stacey Barelos was an ace as always at the piano, but the lovely surprise was the University Chamber Choir and their excellent young conductor Alan Zabriskie, who did a beautiful job with Song of the Moon

me & stacey

 And then we and  Stacey and her family at another joyous surprise of Warrensburg, MO:  Monetti’s—possibly the best Italian food I’ve ever had.  (The date stamp reveals the “Eternal New Year’s of 2003,” the perpetual date stamp on my mom’s camera….)

me & stacey 2