August 2008 Convention
Kansas City, MO

A Composer’s Perspective

This was a wonderful convention with many highlights! Between working at a booth in the exhibit hall and catching up with friends, I saw only a fraction of the concerts I’d hoped to attend.

Lois Herbine and Daniel Dorff Playing "Two Cats"

Hearing six wonderful performances of my Sonatine de Giverny in one morning was the most amazing treat a composer could ask for, and hearing Nicole Esposito master “9 Walks Down 7th Avenue” was also transcendent. “9 Walks” is a challenging piece for rhythmic alignment with the piano—Esposito and pianist Alan Huckleberry not only nailed this tightrope act with artistic grace, but they teased each other throughout with little rubatos, adding an extra dimension of fun and excitement that I’d never heard in the piece before. Esposito’s performance of Michael Colquhoun’s “Charango” was equally riveting, and I was excited to discover this unfamiliar piece that uses a lot of extended techniques in a way that’s compelling and engaging.

Lois Hernine and Daniel Dorff

Amy Porter’s performance of the new Caliendo sonata was for me the knockout magical performance of the week; her ability to make overwhelmingly challenging pieces sound breezy never ceases to amaze me (and I’m still wowed by her performance of Matthew Van Brink’s “Dal Dosai” back in Pittsburgh). I was excited to hear Marco Granados and his latin-jazz ensemble for the first time, and when 13-year-old Elena Pinderhughes fronted this band as both flutist and vocalist, it seemed like an upcoming miracle to watch blossom in the coming years.

Overall, my favorite moment was being offered the opportunity to play clarinet in front of 200 flutists, in the NFA premiere of my new “Two Cats” for flute and clarinet, featuring flutist Lois Herbine (who had just premiered David Finko’s piccolo concerto the day before). My saddest moment was Sunday evening, when the convention ended—I could have relished a few more days!

—Daniel Dorff