Aaron Copland: Champion of American Composers.

Posted by: Dave Douglas on January 21, 2011 @ 2:44 pm
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts)

In his lifetime, Aaron Copland gave us so much music, and so much specifically American music. We just heard Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man once again played at an important national moment: the memorial ceremony in Tucson, Arizona. It was uplifting to once more hear that piece under such powerful circumstances.

What may be less known is how much time and effort Copland gave to other composers. One enduring aspect of that generosity is the residency created at his home in Cortlandt, New York. I have the good fortune of residing in the studio this month and it is a gift of peace, focus, and creative intensity. Needless to say, writing is going rather well under the circumstances.

The music collection here is daunting. I had hoped to blog about some discoveries among the recordings, scores, and books, and I may still do that, but right now it is impossible to single out anything. There is simply too much. And with the beautiful piano and the old pine writing desk, it’s hard to stop writing. I can only encourage other composers to apply, and once again thank Aaron Copland for providing this incredible resource for all of us.

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Writing on the road

Posted by: admin on April 2, 2010 @ 12:22 pm
Filed under: Music Technology

I played a one-off in Iowa City this past week. We’ve always had a good turnout at this specific club so we decided to bring a lite horn section with us to kind of cement us in there. Funny how adding horns to a guitar rock band makes a stereotypically wallflower indie-rock crowd markedly dancier.

Before and after the show, our trumpet player was working on charts for a different band (while we lazily enjoyed our pizza). His on-the-road setup really inspired me to get one together for myself.

USB KeyboardThough I’ve always been a huge fan of hand-written charts — something about the process of inking up paper with a pen has always helped me internalize what I was writing since it’s driven by what’s in my head rather than a synth — I’m going to get a new copy of Finale or Sibelius (which do you prefer?). And I’m going to get the little USB keyboard that trumpet player was using — the Akai LPK25 (in pic). It’s the exact width of the laptop so it’s able to fit in any bag. Seemed pretty sturdy, too.

For all you road warriors out there working on tunes in the van, on the train or plane, what’s your setup? Would like some more options before pulling the trigger.

Happy weekend.