August 2015 Convention
Washington, D.C.

Cornucopia of Delights

I was delighted to get to more events in 2015 than I have in the past few years combined. Julietta Curenton’s grace, amazing tapering on quiet phrases, and vernacular fire were breathtaking, and I could see the flutists around me awed by her control and elegance in performances of music by Amanda Harberg and by her own mother, Evelyn Simpson-Curenton. Jeanne Baxtresser’s first hint at the long-awaited Orchestral Excerpts, Volume 2 had 600 of us packed into a room that seats 400, plus a crowd in the hallway listening in and a room’s-length autograph line afterward.

I had the pleasure of hearing one-composer concerts devoted to music by Valerie Coleman, Gary Schocker, and Dan Welcher, and unfortunately missed dozens of other concerts I would have loved to attend. I counted more than 30 longtime Facebook friends whom I finally met in person!

The Monmouth Winds with Gary Schocker, following a performance of his Sextet for piano and wind quintet, in which Schocker performed on piano.

photo by Daniel Dorff

Leonard Garrison and Shannon Scott gave me a scare—their premiere of my “Zoe & Xena” for piccolo and bass clarinet was almost cancelled when those peppy Labrador namesakes yanked Shannon and broke her wrist in late July. But the show must go on, and Shannon performed wonderfully with a cast on her arm.

My most favorite event was a lecture-recital in which I participated; Cindy Anne Broz brought down the house premiering a new solo piece by Eric Ewazen that she recently commissioned as well as my own Sonata (Three Lakes), which Broz also commissioned. Before each performance, Broz chatted amiably with the audience about the commission process itself and her role in the composers’ creative development processes.

I suspect many share my appreciation for the rich acoustics and conveniently close locations of the recital spaces in the Marriott Wardman Park, as well as good restaurants in the lobby and many more across the street. Let’s keep this venue in heavy rotation!

—Daniel Dorff