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  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

1.25.21 Vanderbilt Virtuosi Livestream happening soon!


  • Vanderbilt Virtuosi Reminder: Album Release & Livestream Concert on February 8

  • January 25: Robert Burns Day

  • Healthy Holly Runs through February 15

  • Composition Updates

  • Reminder: VOCE Valentine's Day Livestream


Dear Friends,

I am breathing a little easier after Biden's successful and unmarred inauguration. The poem by the brilliant national poet laureate Amanda Gorman and the musical performance by Detroit nurse Lorie Marie Kay were such powerful testaments to the ability to create art out of adversity, and for everyone else who was moved to tears by these amazing creative acts by black women, let me suggest that we could be cultivating young people all across the country to explore their creativity if we had robust funding for the arts and for arts education. Hopefully, among other immediate actions this new administration is taking to expunge the damage of 4 years of blatant white supremacy and malice, we will see an elevation of educators and learning spaces, a return to credible science, and new scaffolding to nurture the arts that have been our occupations, our therapists, our oases, and our megaphones throughout the struggles that we have faced, all caused by the common threats of cynical, willful ignorance and overt racism. Let us hope that a unified government can press ahead in delivering radical relief and restitution to the millions that are suffering in our country. For as many of us who can say "we made it" to the end of the hated presidency that the Republican party hung all of its dark dreams on, there are at least 400,00 people whom that presidency wantonly destroyed. I've got some updates and reminders about new works as well as performances and opportunities to engage with other amazing artists as we wait out the rest of the pandemic, now (FINALLY) with an administration working towards a coordinated vaccine distribution.


Vanderbilt Virtuosi Reminder: Album Release & Livestream Concert on February 8

I am really looking forward to the livestreamed Vanderbilt Virtuosi concert that will be taking place on Monday, February 8 at 9PM EST (8PM CST). The concert program will include Blair School of Music professors Jared Hauser and Richard Todd performing my oboe and guitar duo Mar de Lurín, after paintings by Fernando de Szyszlo, alongside performances by Molly Barth, Peter Kolkay, Leslie Norton, Daniel Reinker, Heather Conner, Megan Gale. I am especially excited to share the airwaves with my former teachers and continuing friends professors Michael Alec Rose and Michael Slayton and former classmates Sean William Calhoun and Alyssa Weinberg. We were invited to create short videos to be played before each of our pieces as well (while some air circulation/sanitization takes place between performances) and I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to elaborate on the origins of the work, on Fernando de Szyszlo's artwork, and my friendship with the artist. I hope it will further enrich the experience. Use this link to add a reminder to your calendar, learn more about the program, and to reach the link to the Blair School of Music's streaming page. I hope you will tune in!


January 25: Robert Burns Day

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns, a writer of profound influence on the English language, whose themes of love, resistance to oppression, and the frailty of life continue to resonate. If there were ever a year for Burns's line "the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft a'gley" it would be 2020. One of my friends celebrates Burns's birthday every year with a traditional "Burns Nicht" and these have continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. For this year's celebration, I composed and did a homemade mock-up of a setting of Burns's famous Like a Red, Red Rose for voice and harp (Garageband is filling in for a harpist). I hope you enjoy it and raise a glass to the Scottish Bard.


Healthy Holly's Runs through February 15!

Jumping ginger! Healthy Holly's Hidden Hideaway is off to a rollicking start! If you haven't had the Healthy Holly experience, go to the Single Carrot website and sign up for this irreverent, zany, phone-based dramatic adventure that is filled with love for the weird city of Baltimore that I have come to call my home


Colleague Spotlight Reminder: Inaugural Valentine's Concert of Vocal Opera Collective Experiment

Brilliant soprano and frequent collaborator Katie Procell is co-organizer of a new creative collective that is working to virtually bring classical vocal music and opera to the world.

VOCE (Virtual Opera Collective Experiment) is committed to delivering performances during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe way for both the artists and the audience to enjoy, focusing on increasing virtual music production quality in order for audience and performers. This group is presenting a winter kickoff concert on Valentine's day, Sunday February 14th at 2PM EST.

The program will feature pre-recorded videos and the talents of Katie Procell (soprano & producer), Katharine Burns (soprano), Nox Chea (mezzo-soprano), Daniel Espinal (tenor), Jamie Sanderson (baritone), Robert Feng (bass & producer), Dmitry Glivinskiy (piano), Felix Jarrar (piano), and Micah Young (piano). Musical selections will include music from Street Scene, Don Carlo, Die Zauberflöte, Ragtime, art songs, spirituals, and more! I hope you will tune in and support musicians who are trying to creatively navigate the limitations created by COVID-19 and the Trump administration's disastrous, negligent handling of it.


Composition Updates

Excerpt from the manuscript of "Jubilation," for String Quartet, including scrunched writing and little nip/tucks

While there has been a pause in the Persephone project, these past few weeks have involved a surprising amount of writing - specifically for string quartet. Two pieces, each around 3'45" have materialized! One is a jubilant recessional (entitled Jubilation) for my little sister's wedding that will take place this summer (I think this brings my count of wedding-related string quartet works up to 4); the other was a project that began with a dream. Quite literally, I heard a cheeky 4-measure passage of music in b-flat major for string quartet in a dream that I had on January 17th, wrote it down as soon as I woke up, and then a few days later worked it into a jaunty, humorous piece that plays with some of the mannerisms of 19th century European 19th music. I think it would make a fun encore to any number of concert programs, and, in light of its airy sound and unserious quality, I entitled the piece Trifle.

Totoro oversees the drafting of "Trifle," for String Quartet

I hope each opener and closer post gets happier and brighter as the daylight hours lengthen with continued good news for my friends, for our nation, and for my music. Keep safe, we're still very much in the thick of it!


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