Tag Archives: composer

Spatial music: movement and sound in Nicolaikerk

Years ago, as a composition student, I was asked to write music to make use of the huge space in St Nicolas Church in Utrecht. Pressed for time, I adapted a piece for baroque recorders and baroque violin. Only at the premiere did I see the greater possibilities of space and movement.

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Palladio by Karl Jenkins arranged for piano

Have you ever become so obsessed with a tune that the only remedy is to play it on your instrument? When I watched the following clip, I knew I had heard the music before — in London, but not for guitars. Continue reading


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Producing an event without being there: classical guitar concert on Maui

It is entirely possible to make an event happen without being there. If we’re to deconstruct the steps to produce an event such as a classical guitar concert, we can see what it takes in the following phases. Continue reading

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Eine Kleine Nacht Musik for Easy Piano

Mozart’s “Little Night Music” was originally written for string ensemble, consisting of string quartet plus an optional bass. I played the quatre-mains version with my classmate Jeff Beaudry one summer at New College, Oxford for a talent contest. We won a bottle of champagne which we shared with the other team at our next bridge game.

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Gerald Schwertberger (1941 – 2014)

Gerald Schwertberger was one of the earliest 20th/21st century composers we discovered — who had composed for piano and guitar. Robert and I performed his works at our debut concert in London in 2002. The works were easy, fun, and full of humor.

I’ve never been to Vienna. I’ve never met Gerald.

It was an e-mail exchange, later continued more actively on Facebook.

We followed each other on Facebook. He read my blogs. I played his music.

I wrote to Gerald about visiting Vienna this summer. He replied that he was very ill.

In November/December 2013, I wrote to Gerald that I was looking for easy but fun music for my adult beginning piano students. I explained that here on Maui, there is just one music store and one book store. We have to order online and pay for hefty delivery costs. Unless I can download it from the Internet, I usually don’t get to browse or see what’s available.

Gerald was very kind to send his easy piano pieces with such titles as “chopsticks meets the flea” and “happy piano.”

He was a prolific composer who wrote for piano, guitar, cello, and other instruments. Most of his published work can be obtained from Doblinger. Just google him and you’ll find his pieces performed and recorded.

Sadly Gerald passed away on February 8th, 2014. Through the postings on his Facebook page, I could see that he was much loved and admired by musicians in South America as well as his native Austria. Thank you, Gerald, for your gift of music.

Official website: http://schwertberger.org/

Also on http://vimeo.com/schwerti and https://soundcloud.com/gerald-schwertberger

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How to find free sheet music

My piano students are all excited that they get to play a piece of their choice for their final recital. I said, “I will show you how to find free sheet music. I believe that we can always tailor a piece to your level of playing. This means you can literally play anything you want!”

Just over 10 years ago, an editor of an online magazine that I wrote for asked me,”Is it true that you can find free sheet music online?”

Nowadays, that’s an understatement.

Not only can you find sheet music easily online, you can also download them for free.

What’s the secret?

There are pianists eager to figure out how to play music they want to play, and if they also want to share, that’s the bonus.

There are youtube tutorials of how to play a piece, step by step.

There are file share sites where you offer your version of a particular music score, in exchange for music you want.

I participated in such a site. It was literally seconds before I got the score I wanted.

The secret is how to formulate the keywords to find the sheet music you want.

There are also avid music lovers who scan music they bought or got from the library or elsewhere.

There’s also the famous IMSLP project. I tell my students: there’s a world-wide phenomenon of scanning and sharing sheet music of works of composers who have been dead for seventy years, for after that period, they and their relatives and heirs lose the copyright.

Sheet music will soon be ubiquitous.

…. but only for those that can read music notation.

And that’s where I come in.

I teach people how to read music!

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Birds of a Feather by Chip Michael

Birds of a Feather by Chip Michael

How do you get musicians to play a symphony when they don’t live together?

Ask composer Chip Michael.

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