I've begun broadcasting over the Internet through Destiny Pirate Radio. You can download the player
from my website, run it and just click on Radio, Music then Contemporary. You will see Music by
Prov. Click it and, after the streaming audio fills the buffer, my music will start playing.
audio quality is not the best, but you can get a taste of all the works in my catalog, from 1958 to the present. I chose
this approach, as opposed to some of the other ways to get my music out there, because it's free to the listener.
The Destiny Player is free to download and it works OK.
I don't want to make it difficult for anyone
to hear my music if they so choose. I have been and will always be about sharing my music. And I'm not after
recognition and praise for my efforts. Of course, like anyone else, I like to know that my work is appreciated.
Compliments are an indication of acceptance of my work, even pleasure from listening.
But that's not my main
objective. I want to share a quote with you written by Claude Debussy as Monsieur Croche the Dilettante Hater.
"Do you know anything more slendid than to discover by chance a genius who has been unrecognized through the ages?
But to have been such a genius oneself, can any glory equal it?"
I am not a genius. I recognize
a certain talent for composing music, but it is not genius. However, the essence of Debussy's words is something
I can relate to. I never saw myself as someone who is out front; getting the accolades and praises.
I'm in the background, creating my music, mostly for the few, sometimes for the many. Not overtly promoting myself within
the business of music where I must serve other masters to pay the price of admission. That's not for me.
I earned my living in another world where I paid my dues and earned my keep. I didn't have to compromise my music
to do it.
So now, when that work world is behind me, I am focusing on my music but for the same reasons as always.
I told someone once that I didn't write music for a living, I wrote it for a loving. That's still true today.
I have submitted some scores and CDs to two different sources for consideration. If selected, the scores
may be performed in Bulgaria, and the CDs played on WUOL in Louisville, Kentucky. At the urging of friends and family,
I have joined the Society of Composers and the American Composers Forum to determine if the opportunities they make available
are suited to me and my music.
Not surprisingly, many are restricted to young composers or to composers residing
locally in the area where the opportunity is based. Many require a submission fee ranging from $10 to $300. Needless
to say, I avoided those. I'm simply not going to pay someone to look at my scores or listen to a CD of one or two
of my compositions. There are enough out-of-pocket costs in preparing and sending the material.
all of these, there were some legitimate calls for new music and those were the opportunities I investigated. I did
not pursue any that had too close a deadline, unless I already had a composition that fit the requirements. So, I will
wait and see if my work will be considered. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
On Wednesday, January 28th,
I will be involved in rehearsing the Geneva Jazz Ensemble in playing Blues for Tony which I wrote for Tony Giugliano,
who plays tenor in that band. These people really sound good for an amateur band of weekend warriors. It's
a pleasure working with people like this. They bring more enthusiasm and genuine interest for the music than the pros
I have added more music to an ongoing project that I'm collaborating with Denise Watts on.
We are setting Neale Donald Walsch's Little Soul children's stories to music. Our intent for this project
is to present our completed work to each of our children so they can share it with their children. I have two kids and
two grandkids, Denise has four kids and eleven grandkids.
It's a gift of love to share with our families,
as well as an expression of how we both feel about our families. We both hope that even after we are gone, our grand
kids will listen to our efforts and remember us with love.
I am going to have the privilege and pleasure of working with my old friend, Byron Olson again after more than
forty years. I will be doing some transcribing and engraving of his score materials for an upcoming project of his.
I am looking forward to being a part of that project.
Besides being friends, as a musician I admire Byron's
command of the orchestra through his artful orchestration and arranging. He has a signature sound that is unmistakable
when you hear it. That sound has enhanced many a vocalist's singing, giving their voice a whole new dimension.
Byron has had a long history of writing for vocalists. He has mastered the ability to create a lush
harmonic and melodic foundation without ever getting in the way of the vocalist's performance. It's a skill
not too many orchestrators have. He almost always makes them sound better than they would otherwise.
writing style is in stark contrast to mine, and I think that difference is one we enjoy about each other. My work tends
to be more avant garde, exploring serial and electronic techniques. Since I don't entirely make my living writing
music, I get away with more daring and adventurous stuff.
Byron's gift is to be able to write beautiful music
regardless of what conditions and limitations clients place on him. He can adapt his style to whatever situation the
project imposes. That, too, is a gift not seen in very many composers. He can literally write on demand as the
situation dictates with little to no time allowed to accomplish this.
I would be hard pressed to do the same
thing, under the same circumstances. Byron's experience has helped him do this while still maintaining that
signature sound that has served him well in this business.
Both of us are capable of acquiring the skills to do
what each other does. The results wouldn't be the same but they would be worthwhile. However, each of us has
played the hand we were dealt. Each of us has cultivated a niche were we excel. But we are as one when it comes
to the styles and genres of music we love. We often recommend other composer's work to each other, knowing what
each other loves to hear.
This, to me, is an ideal basis for a friendship. We have mutual respect and admiration
for each other; we speak the language of music and can completely understand what each of us is saying, probably at a level
not attainable with plain English. Besides, we actually like each other.
So the opportunity to work
with Byron is one I relish and look forward to.
As part of my efforts to promote my music, I have joined the Society of Composers (see my
Links page to visit their site). One of the most important benefits to membership is reviewing the many opportunities
they make available to submit my work to various organizations for their consideration. If accepted, the work would
most likely be performed by that organization and, possibly, added to their library.
My primary interest is, and
has always been, to have my music heard by others and, hopefully, be accepted and enjoyed. Monetary gains are secondary.
I will, of course, be glad to accept whatever payment is appropriate for the situation and circumstance, but I'm not in
this to make money.
The truth of the matter is that realizing a steady income in the music business as a composer-arranger-orchestrator
is something that comes with years of paying your dues. With few exceptions, most people in this business have spent
years taking on all kinds of projects, some for not too much money, so they can establish themselves.
struggling to get to that point do they begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor. There's not too many overnight
successes. For me, the choice was not to enter the business in a mainstrean manner. I was on the periphery, writing
what I wanted, not particularly given to amending to satisfy anyone elses vision. So now I'm a johnny-come-lately
to the business but still, for the most part, retaining my independent attitude.
For this point in time, I
wouldn't have it any other way.
Today, January 20, 2009, we begin anew with President Obama and the promise he brings. I certainly
join in the celebration and anxiously await the days ahead of rebuilding and renewal.
But, for me personally, this
day has another significance. It would have been the 65th birthday of my best friend, Chuck Domanico, who died in late
Chuck was a musician with a gift I've seen rarely in others. We came of age musically while
we were friends in high school. We later met Byron Olson and Bob Mitchell, who Chuck joined to form the Mitchell Roberts
Musically, we explored and experimented and learned. I went from playing tenor to writing. Chuck
went from playing trumpet to playing bass. But the music we made together was and is indelibly etched in our hearts
and minds. It formed the basis for who we became.
I miss my friend very much and wish we could have had more
time to listen and discuss the music that we loved. I think Chuck would have seen the significance of the
Obama presidency and recognized the struggle it took to get here.
Chuck, as I, had seen the racial prejudice
along the way. As musicians, we found ourselves in the middle of it often. His attitude was always to accept people
for who they were, not for their color or background. If you were a musician, you needed to play well for Chuck to accept
you. He did not suffer fools too readily. If you were a stand-up person, you were OK with Chuck.
think Chuck would have approved of Obama because he's shown himself to be a stand-up guy. Yes, I miss my friend.
Byron and I now talk regularly about music, but we often talk about Chuck, and how good he was and how much greater
he would have become.
So, Happy Birthday Chuck! Good luck Mr. President!
As we approach the inauguration of our first Afro-American president, I think back to my years playing gigs
as a jazz musician. To be a jazz musician was and is to be among a group of people united by the music with little to
no regard as to who you were. If you can play, you were OK. It didn't make any difference what race you were
or what neighborhood you came from, city or suburb.
I entered places were there was jazz being played without concern
for how I was looked upon by others. I was there for the music and that particular place was where the music was being
played. When I carried my tenor sax into a place to play, even though I was a young, white, suburbanite, I was
After I started playing and the jazz flowed from me, I got the look of approval from listeners
and fellow musicians alike. That approval and acceptance meant more to me than winning any award.
all these years later, with a newer generation of players on the music scene, I'm delighted to see the same unity
we experienced as musicians back then. Society has been slow to pick up on that unity.
So much hatred,
so much bloodshed, I'm amazed we've survived it all. Yet, we did. There is less hated, less bigotry, and
the brotherhood of musicians has expanded to other genres of music, like rock, hip-hop, techno, and more.
see Obama become president is the culmination of the struggle that came before and, in some small way, a continuation
of the unity musicians experience whenever they play together. I hope that now we can all experience that unity.
So far, January of 2009 has been shaping up to be a good month, in spite of the snow and bitter cold we're
experiencing in Northwest Illinois. For me, I have been fortunate to continue expanding my musical horizons. I've
enjoyed writing music for others, like my good friend Tony, as well as for myself.
My ongoing conversations with
my dear friend and fellow traveler, Byron Olson, have been very rewarding for both of us. In a recent conversation,
Byron challenged me to define what direction I want to take this website.
Is it for friends and family only,
or is it a professional presentation of me, the composer, with the aim of encouraging the performance fo my work by various
organizations, as well as seeking commissions for new work? He compelled me to think about what direction I want to
take at this point in my life.
I know this was a sincere questioning from Byron, who has been a strong advocate
of wanting my work performed. It was a constructive critique that I needed. It can only come from someone
who's been involved in music as long as I have, and who is a true friend.
As I've said before, he and I
are musical brothers. We "grew up" listening to much of the same things, and were inspired and motivated by
what we heard. This established a foundation that we've both built upon. The shared experience is perhaps
the strongest bond between us.
So I've taken Byron's critique to heart and have made changes to this website
that do more to promote my music and my willingness to do more for others on a professional basis. As all of you navigate
through my site, I'd appreciate any feedback on what you think, both positive and negative. It all helps me improve
both the website and my direction with it.
So, what's happening? I finished the first big band chart for my friend, Tony Giuliano. Tony
plays with two different big bands, the Geneva Jazz Ensemble and the New Horizon Band at Benedictine University. The
tune is Blues for Tony and you can hear it on the My Music page of my website.
My wife bought
me an early birthday present; two tickets for the Symphony Center to see the CSO with Pierre Boulez conducting.
The program will include works by Stravinsky and Varese. It should be great. The Symphony Center was formally
known as Orchestra Hall and has been the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for as long as I remember.
still working on Trauertraum for flute, clarinet and bassoon. The title is German and translates to Mournful
Dream. I like doing pieces for a handful of instruments like this. It invites me to explore the contrasts
in timbre that gives so much color to a piece like this.
At the end of this month, a few of us are going to
the Woodstock Opera House to see a one-man show on Mark Twain. Should be interesting. I'm not an avid Twain
fan, but I like his writings so that was enough for me to want to see it.
As a reminder to everyone....get out
and support your local school's music programs. Of the many musicians I've worked with over the years, virtually
all of them have great memories of playing in their school band and attribute that as what started their careers.
Budgets are always being scrutinized, especially now. But please continue to support your school's music
program. Kids need to feed their artistic side as much as anything else. Help them do that.
Here's hoping things are going OK with all of you. I'm excited about a project I'm involved
with. My good friend, Tony Giugliano, plays tenor sax in a jazz big band. They may be weekend warriors but they
sound damn good. I'm in the process of writing some charts for them, and it's been a blast! Tony has been
there for me over the years and is a good friend. I wanted to do this for him.
It's been a very long
time since I wrote for a big band. The last time was in 1959 when Chuck and I put a jazz workshop together to try some
things out. I wrote at least 90% of the charts for that band. We broke it up after the summer because a lot of
the guys were headed for college.
Back then, I didn't have a computer, Midi or virtual instruments to work
with. It was a lot of trial and error for a young writer like me. But now, with these tools available to me, I
have an opportunity to tweak the charts before I publish and get them just right.
After I shake off the dust from
my big band chops, I'll do more charts. I have a bunch of jazz tunes I wrote in the 50's that I will resurrect.
It will be the first time they've been played since 1959.
I've also given all things Voluspa to
my friend and collaborator, Swany Getchell. She has the masters to the recording and all artwork, and will coordinate
future production and sales. I'm stepping aside to work on other projects. This will also give Swany a chance
to earn some revenue from her efforts and basically keep Voluspa alive and thriving. You can e-mail her at:
I'm also working on a piece for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon. Listening to Morton Feldman's pieces
for small ensembles has inspired me to make my own attempt. It's an interesting challenge to give music for these
three instruments enough depth and breadth of sound. That was one of Feldman's unique abilities, to make the piece
sound so full with just a few instruments.
I've got some other personal things going on involving paving a
new road to better health. My friend, Denise, says that the leading cause of death is doctors. She is right on,
and I'm trying to get off that track as we speak. If you're not your own heath advocate, don't depend on
anyone else being there for you.