Musicians in Residence at The Banff Centre

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

January 5 – March 15, 2014, I’ll be composing a piano-violin-cello trio as an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre’s winter Musicians-in-Residence program. Banff is a town within Banff National Park (the Canadian Rockies) in Alberta, Canada. I’ll be  collaborating and socializing with lots of other resident musicians as well as an impressive roster of visiting faculty.

This is really my first “art colony” sort of experience, and I’m extremely excited. A generous scholarship from The Banff Centre has made this possible (they get good funding for the arts in Canada, unlike some places), though I still must raise lots of money. I am quickly devising a Kickstarter plan that rewards donors. Stay tuned.

I have ten weeks to devote exclusively to music. This is professional development at its most intense, and  I want to prepare as rigorously as possible so that when there, I can “go with it.”  If I’m sometimes socially awkward, this would be the time to cut it out. There is no structured program in place for me, with classes and so forth, though I believe there will performances galore.  It’s about being proactive.  I believe there are  opportunities to speak with visiting faculty. Among them are  Uri Caine – pianist/composer; the  Afiara String Quartet; Royal Wood – Singer-songwriter; Barney Bentall – Singer-songwriter; Lucy Shelton – Soprano; Ransom Wilson – Flute;  Ronan O’Hora – Piano; Yehonatan Berick – Violin.

It would be an understatement to call this a risk. It precludes me from teaching during the spring semester, and I have no guarantee of returning to my position after I return. But then again, I’ve never really had a guarantee as an adjunct. I’m also generally concerned about finances post-Banff. But the up-side is that I get to give my career a push by composing a substantial piece of music and by networking with lots of great musicians. It’s my goal to develop into the “active composer” that I envision, not only as an end in itself, but as a gateway to a more secure, non-adjunct teaching position, whether it be where I currently teach or elsewhere.

Only one life.  Make the most of it.

 

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