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LA Times compliments my orchestration (indirectly)

This is probably the best orchestration compliment I could ever hope for from the LA Times’ recent review of The Invention of Morel:

“Scored for a 16-piece band that often sounds as if ballooned into something 10 times its size, the music hectored the audience persistently, often at odds with the contours of the vocal lines.”

I worked on this for two years with Stewart Copeland to get that big sound out of a little orchestra, and the shows at the Chicago Opera Theater and the Long Beach Opera have been close to sold out. SUCCESS!!

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The Invention of Morel comes to the Long Beach Opera

On March 17, 24, and 25 the Long Beach Opera will present The Invention of Morel in its west coast debut. I orchestrated it for composer Stewart Copeland, and it took about two years to complete. It was premiered last year by the Chicago Opera Theater. Conducted by the great Andreas Mitisek and with a brilliant cast, you’ve probably never seen anything quite like it. I highly recommend it.

LA Weekly wrote a great article about it, and there’s more info on

Here’s Stewart at last year’s premiere explaining why opera is a lot like South Park, and why there’s nothing about opera that a good new opera can’t fix.

Mark Abel – Time And Distance album release

My fifth album collaboration with composer Mark Abel came out today on the Delos label. Time and Distance is a wide-ranging collection of classical art song that features Grammy-winning soprano Hila Plitmann and Southern California mezzo Janelle DeStefano. Mark’s provocative and original style blends elements of classical, rock and jazz in a unique musical fusion that combines the depth and sophistication of classical with the direct impact of rock. I did the music preparation for the album.

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Ledisi – Nina & Me concert, Apollo Theater

In 2016 I orchestrated a film called Nina about the legendary Nina Simone, the High Priestess of Soul and civil rights activist. Tonight, another project about Nina’s legacy is born, and I’m proud to help keep Nina’s memory alive through this concert.

Ledisi, a 12x Grammy-nominated vocal powerhouse, teamed up with producer Gregg Field, a well-known drummer (Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles) and co-owner of Concord Music Group. The concert was at the Apollo Theater in New York where Nina Simone performed often during the height of her career, and the program was a mix of songs from both Ledisi and Nina.

Ledisi said about the show: “I’m very excited to do my special project called “Nina and Me.” Her legacy lifted me and reminded me to be proud of my skin and to embrace the walk I was given. I hope she can feel how much I love her. She has saved my life so many times. Her music lets me know I am not alone in my journey.”

I transcribed the Nina Simone songs and prepared all of the sheet music for the show with Brian Benison.

Nobu Uematsu’s Libery Fatali from Final Fantasy VIII

Nobuo Uematsu is a Japanese video game composer who is best known for scoring most of the titles in the long-standing Final Fantasy series. Uematsu’s work has transcended video game music and entered the world of classical concert music. I had the opportunity to engrave one of his most famous themes from Final Fantasy VIII titled Liberi Fatali from his original pencil scores, which is always a treat. Originally written in the late 90’s, the piece will be in an orchestral score rental library run by Jason Librande.

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Azerbaijan American Music Foundation publishes book

Gara Garayev was one of the most prominent classical composers to come from the country of Azerbaijan, and during his years in the USA he sometimes shared the concert stage with Stravinsky and Schoenberg. He devoted his life to both teaching and writing and he left us with nearly 110 pieces, including ballets, operas, symphonic and chamber pieces, piano solos, cantatas, songs and marches. In honor of his 100th birthday the Azerbaijan American Music Foundation is publishing a new book of his piano music. Because of his lifelong commitment to teaching it is a book of children’s music, and it will be used very soon as part of a youth piano competition. I did the final engraving of the book for the foundation, working with editor Jamila Javadova and a pianist from Azerbaijan.

Charts for Randy Waldman recording session

Randy Waldman won his first Grammy for co-arranging Barbra Streisand‘s “Somewhere.” He has been Streisand’s pianist and conductor for over 30 years and has worked with many brilliant artists including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. Next week he will be back in the recording studio again, and I prepared all the sheet music for the sessions with lead copyist Brian Benison.

Rock string quartet #2 for Skyko Tavis and Strad Films

Over the last few days I had the pleasure of doing the music preparation of another rock string quartet by composer Skyko Tavis from Strad Films. One of my favorite things about working in media music is the genre-bending that happens constantly. I never know what’s going to come across my desk, and that keeps me constantly on my toes and constantly learning.

Rock string quartet #1 for Skyko Tavis and Strad Films

Over the last few days I had the pleasure of doing the music preparation of a rock string quartet by composer Skyko Tavis from Strad Films. This is the first of what will be a long series of them. I also created all the dynamics, articulations, phrasing, and bowing, and Sky’s first response was the question “Are you a string player?” I’m not, but I’m very good at what I do!