August 2010 Convention
Anaheim, CA

High Notes Between Board Meetings

Daniel Dorff

How do I fit the amazing 2010 convention into a few paragraphs? I didn't hear enough music, but started the week on a high note (literally) at the Piccolo Gems concert. What a luxury to hear six of the world's greatest piccoloists tearing off their favorite encores and showpieces with an outstanding wind ensemble! Phyllis Louke's flute choir in the lobby stopped me in my tracks with its incredibly tight precision and unified phrasing, and Shaul Ben-Meir's flute choir arrangement of "The Sorceror's Apprentice" was remarkably mystifying. I am deeply grateful to Walfrid Kujala, Lois Herbine, and Colette Valentine for breathtaking performances of my own music, and to everyone who came to hear it.

I've participated in many composer discussion panels over the years, at NFA and elsewhere, but I've never had such a wonderfully deep experience as sitting alongside Eric Ewazen, Jake Heggie, Robert Dick, and Robert Aitken, with everybody discussing how they balance composing time with the rest of their life, how they develop musical ideas, how their idea of composing for flute is related to their own performing experience, what our composition teachers were like, and lots of candid stories about our own development. We had some profound questions from the audience on these topics, and the five composers were eager to open our hearts with serious answers.

This was my first convention serving on the board. I'll admit I was reluctant to accept the invitation to serve last year because I didn't want to miss 15 hours of the convention to be in meetings, but our board is a very insightful, cooperative, flexible, mutually respecting bunch of diverse musicians and planners, and it was a wonderful experience to be part of the steering process, and to participate with my colleagues in making decisions that will replenish and nourish both the short-term flourishing and the long-term stability of the NFA. I can't wait for the next meeting!

—Daniel Dorff