I’m thrilled to announce that the fantastic Seattle-area chorus, The Esoterics, have named me the winner of their POLYPHONOS Composition Competition for the 2014 season! I’ll be writing a new piece for them to be premiered in October 2014 in Seattle, not far from my old haunts in Tacoma (Go Loggers!). To find out more about this amazing group of musicians, visit http://www.theesoterics.org. You can also check out the press release here. A huge thanks to the judges, Esoterics director Eric Banks, and the group – can’t wait to work with everyone!

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance announced this week that Greg’s newest work for choir, Two Lorca Songsis the winner of the 2013 Brehm Prize in Choral Composition! The work comes with a $2000 cash prize, and the work will be premiered next season by the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, directed by Grammy-award winning conductor Jerry Blackstone. The Brehm Prize is made possible through an extremely generous gift from William and Dolores Brehm. An big thanks goes out to Dr. Blackstone and to Mr. and Mrs. Brehm! See the official announcement of the Prize results here.

This evening’s adventure in internal struggle:

I’m at the finishing stages of a choral piece, a setting of two texts by the incomparable Federico Garcia Lorca. The piece itself is written, the notes and lyrics are into the notation program. For me, the last stage is to add and finalize the dynamics, articulations, and other expressive markings in the score – I call this “painting” the score (because it adds color to the music – get it???)

Lots of composers put this portion of the process nearer the beginning of the compositional timeline; I’ve never been able to, for a few reasons. Chiefly, when my music is freshly written, I don’t frankly know what the character of it is right away, save for general dichotomies like “loud/soft” or “quick/slow”. More to the point here, though, is the second problem: I can never decide what to paint with. Every dynamic and articulation is a choice. Some are bigger than others, obviously, but every one affects the music. The ones I really struggle with don’t just stop at the music; they can affect a composer’s relationship to the performer. (more…)