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Premieres & Figures

On the road for the next few weeks with concerts in Michigan, California, and Texas. 

"Premieres & Figures" - does that title trip you up a bit? Sorry! I couldn’t resist pairing those words because three of my upcoming concerts feature historical and theological heroes as main characters of the music.

For the California Band Director Association, I have written a new work about the 20th-century Tamil hero வ. உ. 􏰀􏰀Chidambaram Pillai called V.O.C.: Helmsman of the Sea. This Grade 4 piece will be premiered by the California All-State High School Band ensemble (conductor: Shelley Jagow) at CASMEC, the California All-State Music Education Conference in Sacramento, CA on Sunday, February 4, 10:30 AM. Excitingly, CBDA has created a curriculum about VOC & Carnatic music to accompany this piece, which is why it was so important to me to highlight Tamil history with this project. VOC’s story is incredible. Check out this new biography about him!

Next, I am off to Texas for the TMEA – Texas Music Educators Association – convention in San Antonio. This piece was commissioned by Lawler Middle School, Frisco, TX for their convention performance at the Lila Cockrell Theatre on February 8, 10:15 AM. Something special was that the student performers wanted to be able to dance along to this piece in a few different styles of classical Indian dance. Accordingly, I made sure the music fit that goal, and I decided to create a piece about Mohini, whose dance saved the day in the story of the churning of the sea. I called my piece Freely Mohini because I like to imagine this hero as Raja Ravi Varma painted her - swinging freely and joyfully.

And finally: I am headed to Michigan THIS WEEK for concerts with the Michigan Philharmonic, Nan Washburn, and organist Angie Wong. Our first concert is at the Detroit Institute of Arts this Friday, January 19, and you can also catch the program at the St. John’s Chapel in Plymouth, Michigan on Sunday, January 21 - I’m told that there is a beautiful organ at the chapel. At both locations, the orchestra will be performing my piece Son of Pandu, which I wrote as an ode to Arjuna, the hero of the Mahabharata. Check out this performance of Son of Pandu from Sweden:

Arjuna, V.O.C., Mohini - three tremendous heroes and figures from our stories and histories!

I always enjoy getting to meet new audiences in person, so if any of these concerts are local to you, do come and say hi.  And for my Minnesotan friends and listeners, stay tuned for news on an exciting home concert on February 18 at the Ordway Concert Hall…. 

In the meantime, MN friends can catch Patiala Pulse at the University of Minnesota High School Honor Band Festival on Sunday, January 28 at 1:30 PM.

Cheers to a musical 2024!



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