A guitar connected to a triggering mechanism, part of Charley Friedman's installation "Soundtracks for the Present Future."

Since March, I’ve been working with the incomparable Lincoln-based Charley Friedman and the wonderful team behind his new installation piece, Soundtracks for the Present Futures. Alongside some of Nebraska’s best musicians – including Tom Larson, Dereck Higgins, and Nicholas Lemme – I’ve written new music for Charley’s installation of over 50 electronically-controlled guitars. Opening at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha on Saturday, June 5, and running until August. Admission to the Bemis Center is always free!

Composers from 84 countries took part in New Classics competition

Following a stellar performance on November 29 of Draw Me the Sun by the Moscow Conservatory’s Studio for New Music, directed by Maestro Vladimir Tarnopolsky, the Conservatory’s New Classics Competition named Draw Me the Sun as its Second Prize winner in the Contemporary Popular Music division! A heartfelt thanks to the Moscow Conservatory for this honor, and for an incredible performance during the most challenging of circumstances. Special congratulations are also in order to my longtime friend Matt Browne, who took home First Prize in the same division for his incredible work Writer’s Room.

You can see the entire gala concert here, and the Studio for New Music’s performance of Draw Me the Sun here.

Draw Me the Sun, written for Alarm Will Sound, has been named a finalist in the 2020 Moscow Conservatory New Classics Competition! The gala concert and announcement of the winners is scheduled for November 15. More information on the competition and the concert here, and I’ll update this space with a link to any live streams or new, exciting news. More info about Draw Me the Sun can be found on the Symphonic/Large Ensemble page. Stay tuned!

P.S. Don’t miss the incredible music of my buddy Matt Browne, another finalist!

The incomparable University of Nebraska-Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, directed by my colleague and inspired composer/conductor Tyler White, premieres my new work for orchestra, Promise Me You Won’t Believe A Single Word, this afternoon at 3pm CT in Kimball Recital Hall on my home turf at the Glenn Korff School of Music! $5/$3 in person, or hear the live webcast by visiting music.unl.edu. There’s a lot more great chances to hear my work alongside great musicians and great friend coming up – keep an eye on this space, or follow me on social media at ‘gregsimonmusic’ for more information.

The brilliant Andrew Allen and Gordon Hicken of Rogue Two, who commissioned Step Inside for soprano EQ146.jpgsax and marimba, have just released their tremendous first album! The aptly-named Step Inside features the premiere recording of the same piece, alongside other amazing music by composer-friends Jesse Jones, Jay Batzner, and many others. Makes a terrific stocking stuffer for your favorite new music fan! Get it now via digital download here — CD’s available for order soon!

BESSIE_JONES,_A_GOSPEL_SINGER,_LIVES_ON_ST._SIMON'S_ISLAND_-_NARA_-_546990 (1).jpg
Bessie Jones, 1973 (photo public domain, U.S.)

Every once in a while, I compose music for electronics which uses as its source American field recordings. These can include folk songs, narratives, or “found” sounds from somewhere in American life. I use these sources as beginning points, entering into a free dialogue with them and the stories they tell about what it means — and has meant — to be an American and to be an American artist. These pieces are loosely organized into an ongoing project which I call Dead Cowboys. My newest musical offering has its beginnings in the legendary American singer and storyteller Bessie Jones. In the source audio, Bessie is talking with sonic historian Alan Lomax and his wife, Antoinette Marchand. This entry into the Dead Cowboys series is entitled Pray For Rain. 

Special thanks for this project’s completion goes to the Lomax archives at the Association for Cultural Equity, an invaluable resource for hidden sounds from the American past. Thanks also to Hunter Ewen for his help smoothing out the technical edges (Hunter is a terrific electronic composer in his own right — check out his website and see for yourself).

Dead Cowboys: Pray For Rain is available below via Soundcloud, and will be listed on gregsimonmusic.com shortly. Like everything else in my output, derivative works of Dead Cowboys are licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0. For direct download or offline use, contact me directly.

Giovanni Santos – a great conductor, tremendous friend, and the original commissioner of For Angels, Slow Ascending – is taking his wind ensemble at La Sierra University to Europe this summer, and on Saturday, March 11 they’ll be holding a fundraising concert to help them get there. Featuring a ton of great music, and including For Angels, Slow Ascending in the original maestro’s hands. This is one not to miss!

7pm, $15-$10-$5. Tickets and more here.

As the calendar turns to 2017, I’ll be doing some small tweaks and redesigns to this space. Mostly cosmetic, which means you can still do all your favorite GSM things (listen, view, and purchase music by visiting the Music page, and find me on Twitter and Linkedin by visiting the homepage) uninterrupted. If you notice that something is missing or broken, don’t hesitate to let me know by using the Contact function, and I’ll get in touch with you right away.