Inspired by recent events in my professional life, I have decided to officially start up the tfresh productions blog. For the past 15 years, I have been forging my way through the music industry, creating my own career path that better suits my particular interests and skill sets. Since I have a hand in so many musical cookie jars, this blog will end up containing stories from the musical battle field, stories from the road, as well as just my thoughts on a wide range of musical topics.
But first, a little backstory...
I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelors of Music in Music Performance. I studied trumpet with George Recker, jazz with Steve Owen, and instrumental conducting with Robert Ponto. I didn't take any formal composition or arranging courses, but I did play in a scholarship pep band and that's when I first bought Finale 95 and began learning to arrange (self-taught). The band had a very odd instrumentation that necessitated custom arrangements. 2 alto saxes, 1 tenor sax, 1 bari sax, 3 trumpets, mellophone, lead trombone, bass trombone, bass guitar and drumset.
It was a great first arranging experience, as I had a group right there ready to read anything I brought in. It was a great breeding ground for arrangers, and several fantastic arrangers have come out of this group. It was understood by everyone involved that your first few arrangements were going to be terrible, and that was fine. We learn from them and then go back and tweak. It took me several charts before I got one that ended up staying in the book. Several years later, the group ended up recording it, too. Below is a clip of that recording. Keep in mind that it was several years later and that I was not in the room (or even aware that they were recording it until MUCH, MUCH later. Their musical director made a few changes that I don't agree with, but I do appreciate them playing and recording my chart. This is a clip of that recording....my arrangement of Greg Adam's "Metro" from his Hidden Agenda album.
From here, I moved to Kalamazoo, where I began working towards my Masters degree. I studied trumpet with Stephen Jones and Scott Thornburg and instrumental conducting with Robert Spradling. I sold my lead trumpet and didn't play any jazz or commercial music because I was going to be an orchestral trumpet player, or so I thought. It was there that I discovered my true passion, contemporary chamber music. Still no jazz, but very serious music in odd instrumentation and settings. It's still some of my favorite music to write and perform and listen to.
One day, my brass quintet was performing at an event that we honestly didn't really know what was all about. We performed a few pieces, including Eric Ewazen's "A Philharmonic Fanfare." Eric just happened to be in the audience, and was invited on stage to be recognized and take a bow after our performance. Standing beside me, he just happened to look onto my stand and saw a piece of music that I had engraved and edited and said "Oh my Gosh! Did you do that? That looks fantastic! I need someone to help me with my music, since I get so swamped with commission deadlines and performance travel. What's your number? Can I call you in a few days?" And that was the beginning of my career in music engraving, which led to editing, and eventually orchestrating.
After earning my Masters degree, I moved to New York City to set the world ablaze with my cutting edge brass trios and renegade chamber music performances (I hadn't actually ever composed anything, of course, but that didn't stop my dreams).
This story continues as it follows my journey from New York City to Phoenix, Arizona, and then to Prineville, OR, then up to Portland, OR. Many fascinating stops along the way with tons of great stories, many of which will be shared here, along with the occasional opinionated rant about some facet of music that will only be interesting to a very specific subset of people.
Alright...I have to get back to the horn now. I was in the middle of my morning practice routine when I was hit with the idea of starting this blog thing back up, and then I went with it and here we are. Get back to work!