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  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

4.24.20 More new music, video links, etc.


-Recent Virtual Performances/Broadcasts

-Creation Continues! Newly Completed Text Setting

Dear Friends,

I hope you are continuing to stay safe and healthy. As the necessary lockdowns and physical distancing measures continue, please continue to keep the independent artists in mind. My work in advocating for arts education in public schools (which continues into the digital/remote-learning realm) has meant that I still have a paid job, so this is a reminder to keep in mind the finances about the other musicians, performers, and artists in your lives and networks (I have had a few people reach out to me, which warms my heart so much). Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is villainously wrong in saying that "There are more important things than living." Even as there continue to be dire economic impacts from these necessary distancing measures, I implore all of you to stay safe and physically distanced, even as states and regions buckle to nihilistic pressures. Also (I can't believe this is something that needs to be said with any seriousness), don't ingest disinfectant chemicals. Don't.


Recent Virtual Performances/Broadcasts

Doug and I are doing our best to keep our spirits up and the spirits of those in our community and networks. I have been so heartened to find that my music is reaching people during this time. A few weeks ago, Peabody Conservatory broadcast the 2018 world premiere video of my string orchestra piece, Grounds, which is still available for viewing here. And just last week, a longtime friend and collaborator, Joshua Ulrich of the Altius Quartet, performed an excerpt of my nearly-decade-old Sonata for Solo Violin on a livestream concert that the Altius Quartet performed through facebook. That video is still available for viewing here.


Creation Continues! Newly Completed Text Setting

While we each are dealing with the current circumstances differently, continuing to create has been very important for my motivation and happiness. I am continuing to grapple with projects of a larger scale (saxophone sonata movements, a string ensemble piece inspired by John Hitchens's Grounds painting), but also have been working on smaller-scale projects, one of which I just completed!

Many of you heard my extensive setting of texts from Whitman's Calamus for lower voices, The Need of Comrades, at my birthday concert (which you can watch in this post!)

I return to Calamus with a castmember of that concert with a new musical setting. Baltimore-based Baritone Ross Tamaccio approached me about setting some more Whitman during this lockdown period, specifically the excerpt best-known as "To a Stranger." The piece I've created, about 4 minutes long, is for lyric baritone and 2 flutes. I had actually begun a completely different setting of the text involving piano, and found it

following the pattern of my previous Whitman setting too closely; taking as inspiration the knowledge of two acquaintances who studied flute, I combined this project with creating a little gift for some of my friends whom are also enduring these uncertain times.

Manuscript sketches of "Passing Stranger," next to the text, whose rhythmic notes to myself I studiously ignored in the final piece

I look forward to a truly safe time when this might be performed and heard live. Ross is a magnificent singer, and this was a fun project!


I hope you all continue to be good and kind to each other and yourselves during this time. Resist misinformation and cynically-motivated reasons to suggest that our current situation is not dangerous. We must extend every effort to stay safe right now, for ourselves and our loved ones. I hope that you surround yourself with as many beautiful things as possible in this time.


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