As you might imagine, the current situation means that some performances will be cancelled or postponed. As I hear of them, I will let you know, via here and/or via Twitter.

If you want some theory videos, I put together a few a while back. You can check out my work-related YouTube channel for those. Some are just kinda silly fun, like Pierrot’s Boogie Woogie. If they’re helpful to you and your classes, let me know.

We’ll get through it. Be safe, be courageous, be yourself.

WF

So far, we’re fine. No reports of the disease in Stevens County.

Instruction at UMM is going to be online only for a couple of weeks after Spring Break, and probably longer than that.

Be safe, avoid large groups, wash your hands, and elect people who respect expertise.

And hey, maybe this will be my excuse to do more with this website. But I wouldn’t count on it.

WF

Sorry, folks. Just been swamped.

It’s good, though. The Tuba Concerto is getting its orchestral premiere May 17 by the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra (Brad Lambrecht, conductor) with Mike Odello as soloist. Got some other performances lined up as well.

Had An Unperfect Actor (after Sonnet XXIII) performed in New York City on January 4 by Alan Theisen as part of a recital featuring works in the New Music Shelf anthology for alto saxophone – my first NYC performance!

I’ll try to do this weekly. I’ve missed our conversations.

WF

I’ve been remiss. Last year was a tough year.

But – I have been composing and doing academic things, as well as playing. I am trying to make updates to this website as well. So let’s recap:

January 2019 – premiere of Woody Creek Breakdown in Brookings, SD by someone who has been kind enough to commission two or three pieces from me (and who is an absolute joy to work with), Tammy Evans Yonce

February 2019 – premiere (in piano reduction) of Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra here at UMM (Mike Odello on tuba, Angela Nybakke on piano); I also played on this recital, doing euphonium works by Libby Larsen and others

March 2019 – gave a talk on Morton Gould at CMS Great Plains in Cedar Rapids, IA; also, Fujin performed Urban Legends VIII: Chupacabra in Cullowhee, North Carolina

April 2019 – Rational Exuberance performed by the Fort Dodge Symphony under the direction of Joshua Barlage

May 2019 – Second-ever performance of Bedtime Story by NANOWorks in Atlanta, GA

June 2019 – Lisa Neher performed Urban Legends V: Helen in Portland, OR

What does the future hold? I’m presenting twice at the CMS National Conference in Louisville, KY in October. The orchestral version of the Concerto for Tuba will be premiered on May 17, 2020 in Alexandria, MN by the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Brad Lambrecht) with Mike Odello once again on the big horn. And speaking of the CLSO – I am honored to be principal trombone with the group this year. I have not played in a concert orchestra since high school; 29 years is a long enough stretch.

I have a few other projects, too – Misty Theisen and the Asheville Modern Big Band commissioned Triple Double, a concerto-of-sorts for woodwind doubler and big band, and I just sent that off to the performers last week. Can’t wait to hear it! I am also working on getting one last Morton Gould paper off to a journal (if anyone has journal recommendations, I’m listening) and then I have a larger project on the idea of engaged music theory (based on folks like Cheng, Amrein, hooks, etc.).

Personally…I’m exercising again, which is nice. Not much, but every little bit counts, and I’m consistent about it – six days a week, without fail. I’m practicing again too. Being a performer makes me a better composer, theorist, and teacher.

It’s good to be back. I’ll try to do this more often.

WF

Why do I do what I do? Why is my life this weird potpourri of music, science, literature, politics, and surrealism?

My Credo:

I believe every human being should have – by virtue of being born human – access to knowledge, culture, and history.

I believe culture should be available to everyone, be they rich or poor.

I believe arts and humanities are a necessary component of education, from pre-K to PhD and not excluding the trades. Why can’t a bricklayer like poetry, a garment worker music, a farmer literature, a bookkeeper sculpture? By saying cultural pursuits are only for people from specific classes and castes, we deny the basic humanity and the need to create – to endure – of billions.

I believe we should govern ourselves by hope, not fear.

I believe in the transformative power of the humanities.

I believe in the human race, even when the human race does not believe in itself.

I believe if we do not kill ourselves in the cradle, we will go to the stars.

I believe that’s enough for now.

WF

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to Iowa City for the International Trombone Festival. Picked up a new mouthpiece. Here I am getting used to it.

Maybe I’ll put more of these up every now and then.

Also, I can’t recommend Giddings Mouthpieces enough. This is the EXL model, stainless steel with a frost finish. I play on a Conn 88H (Elkhart).

WF

So I was having a discussion on Facebook with Jason Gerraughty and Alan Theisen, two composers you should definitely know. The topic of conversation was this New York Times op-ed by Bret Stephens. These are my thoughts:

I happen to think both pronouns and good jobs are worth the fighting for, and I believe we can do both. Look at Danica Roem in Virginia. Let’s not fall over ourselves to get back white guys as a monolithic group when they will *always* be more conservative. Let’s expand the board. We can fight for good jobs and higher wages without making life harder for trans folks and women and minorities and everyone else.

Or, to turn the framing around – why are we not doing a better job of explaining to some that someone else’s pronouns do not impact them in any way, and their insistence on believing otherwise is why we can’t do more about jobs and wages?

Personally, I’d like to put an end to this fetishization of “work” as a goal in itself, but without guaranteed minimum income that ain’t gonna happen.

We make it clear that it’s the same fight – the fight for the dignity of *every* human being and for the chance for *every* human being to live the best life they possibly can.

One major flaw in contemporary American society is the idea of “sin” and “redemption” as *collective* problems instead of individual ones. Are there national sins? Perhaps, but they are sins of omission instead of commission. A trans person being treated as they would want to be treated and called as they wish to be called by the state is not something that will jeopardize your *personal* salvation, if you believe in such a concept.

And don’t get me started on toxic masculinity…

WF