Monday, August 18, 2008

Website Updated

I took some time this weekend to update my website. Check it out at:

home.cinci.rr.com/dougspata

I corrected a glitch on the home page, added a bunch of You Tube video links to the Music-Video page, and included next year's new titles on the Music-Published page. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Music Selected!

I got word from my editor this past weekend and Alfred is going to publish three of my new pieces in the 2009-2010 catalog!

I can't tell you how relieved I am.

First, they selected "Porcupine Pantomime," a beginner-level bossa nova that lets students practice that often-tricky shift from "bow-hand" to "pizzicato hand" and back. Frequently. The effect is that the young musicians get their "quills" in the air, hence the title. There's also an optional set drum part for this one. Even more vindication: I was assured by a colleague that this piece would never get published.

Next, you can look forward to "Quicksilver," an intermediate-to-advanced piece in 9/8 time. It flies along at a rapid pace in a major key and I think that it will be super-popular.

The third selection is "A Hero's Welcome," unusual in that it has a slower tempo, but there is constant, flowing motion, so students can keep interest. It features some shifting and, more importantly, a chance to really emote and bring some higher-level musicianship to the fore. This piece was premiered by the Hersher High School Orchestra when I visited them in February and they did a superb job with it.

I think the folks at Alfred did a great job, selecting a diverse array of styles and levels from my catalog this year. I had a few pieces that I may want to re-submit at some point, but I'm happy and excited with these three. The next step in the process is getting the proofs and contract addendums for these new selections and that usually happens around October.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Doug's Olympic Dream

I've had a lot of unexpected honors in my career as a composer - I've had schoolkids write essays about me, My music has been performed at major festivals and conferences, and I've received a lot of compliments through the years both in person and via e-mail - but I do have an unrealized dream.

Ever since I was but a wee Doug, I've thought about how great it would be for one of my compositions to accompany a floor exercise routine at the Olympics. I remember watching the telecasts of past Olympics and hearing all sorts of great, exciting music during the gymnastics competitions and hoped that someday, some of my music would be selected.

Wouldn't it be cool to see those impossible flips and turns accompanied with Gauntlet, Avatar, or Agincourt? Recordings are readily available online (www.alfred-music.com), but the real issue is exposure. My student-level orchestra music is little-known outside the realm of school orchestras and young gymnasts have no time for activities outside their sport, so they probably wouldn't know that my music exists.

So: If you know a young gymnast looking for an exciting piece of music for her routine, do me a solid and steer her over to the Alfred website. Maybe she'll go far and make both our dreams come true.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Still Waiting

I'm remaining patient, but August 1st has come and gone and still no word from my publisher about weather I'm in next year's catalog. I'm starting to run out of fingernails to bite. Yesterday they sent me the CDs of the 2008-2009 catalog, so I know they're still out there somewhere and that they still have my correct address.

The CDs came in cool packages - tall pocket cards with the playlist printed on the inside, a pocket on the left for the CD, and a pocket on the right for a booklet. Very classy. Kudos to their design team. It also reminded me that I need to send them a new photo for their marketing - I no longer look anything like the photos they used from eight years ago.

In other news, I'm working on two new student pieces plus the opera. Actually, the opera is on the back burner for a little while. It's like a crossword puzzle: sometimes it's good to put it aside, clear one's head, and get some distance. Then when you return, refreshed, it's easier to see things you may have missed before.

Also, I got an e-mail from my good friend Bruce in Charlotte, NC. He has re-booted his Sizzling Strings orchestra this summer and has started working on Wait Your Turn and Gauntlet.