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New at Noon

Date: 
02/25/2011 - 12:00pm
Venue: 
Distler Hall, Tufts University
Performers: 
Jason Coleman, cello
Performers: 
Nathan Curtis, trombone

Featuring champer music premieres by Tufts composers Nathan Curtis, Kevin Laba, David Molk, Stefan Anderson & Director John McDonald. Performances by Jason Coleman, cello, Nathan Curtis, trombone, & William Kenlon, baritone.

Includes the premiere performance of Decouple, for trombone and cello.

In Memoriam Jennifer Anne Fitzgerald

Date: 
10/03/2008 - 8:00pm
Venue: 
Distler Performance Hall
Performers: 
Nathan Curtis, bass trombone
Performers: 
Members of pulsoptional
Performers: 
Other performers

As part of its festival commemorating the 80th birthday of T.J. Anderson, Tufts University is presenting a memorial concert for composer and Tufts graduate Jennifer Fitzgerald, who died of breast cancer last December at the age of 32. Many performers, including members of pulsoptional, which Jen helped found, will be performing works written by and in memory of Jen. I will be performing my composition Lyric Homage, a tribute to Jen's Lyric II, on bass trombone.

Jen was a PhD student at Duke when I was an undergraduate there, and years later I happened to choose her undergraduate alma mater for my graduate studies. During the spring of 2002, I was assisting pulsoptional (then called CSMG) in the performance of a new work by Robert Zimmerman, and so I got to play alongside Jen and her cohorts. One afternoon, I was warming up before a rehearsal, and Jen overheard me playing multiphonics on the bass trombone, and mentioned that she had written a multiphonic piece for solo tuba that I might be interested in. I was indeed quite interested, and at the next rehearsal, Jen gave me the score to Lyric II, originally written for David Liquori. Unfortunately, I did not have enough control over my multiphonic technique to play Lyric II at the time. Since then, I have gained a greater facility with multiphonics, and after hearing of Jen's death, I wanted to try my hand at her piece once more.

Unfortunately, when I searched through my pile of 7+ years of accumulated scores, I could only find the first page of Lyric II, and I distinctly remember the complete score being two pages long. I asked John McDonald if he had any leads for tracking down the second page, and after he came up empty, he suggested that I write a piece in response to Lyric II. Initially the idea was to write an alternate version of the second page, extending her work in my own compositional language, but in the end I chose to interpolate between phrases of the her original composition. I certainly hope to find the missing second page and perform Lyric II in its entirety someday, but for now I offer my own work in tribute.

Recital 2: Electric Boogaloo

It's been over two weeks since my last%20recital, and I still haven't written about it. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, but that's because I've been so busy working on the next recital, which is zomg tomorrow. I'll tell you about the upcoming recital in a second, but first let me tell you about the last one. My recital on August 30th, which I named "Anarchist Nut," went quite well. In particular, the premiere of the Holy Tango Songbook was excellent, with guest performers Lorinne Lampert and Stephen Williams doing a great job singing and playing piano, respectively. Also, Francis Heaney gave a number of readings from his delightful Holy Tango of Literature, which may be worth the price of admission all by themselves. For my own part, I faltered a bit in the two older pieces on the recital -- I somehow managed to make mistakes I had never before made, not in several hours of practicing -- but held my own on the new works. Several people have told me that they couldn't hear the mistakes, which is understandable since they don't know what was supposed to happen at those points, but a little discomforting to me as a composer, because that means that the audience was reacting to something other than what I had written. Yes, that's a bit egotistical of me, especially for something so trifling as a couple of wrong notes out of however many pieces, but I am hardly the only egotistical composer in the world. I've been working on editing the recordings from the recital, and I hope to have them up for sale sometime next week. To whet your appetite, here are Lorinne and Stephen singing "Skinny Domicile" (after Emily Dickinson) from the Holy Tango Songbook. And, lest I forget, I want to give a hearty thank you Lorinne, Stephen, and Francis for their invaluable assistance in putting on this recital. So, now we come to my next recital, which is, as I mentioned before, tomorrow. This one is called "Musical Hydra," as I will be playing a lot of new music on a lot of instruments -- specifically, bass trombone, flute, and piano. In addition to my own works, I will be playing pieces by fellow Tufts graduates Beau Kenyon and Warren Weberg, as well as my advisor John McDonald. "Musical Hydra" will also be recorded, and I hope to get those recordings online sometime in the next two or three weeks. But why wait for the recording when you can come hear it yourself? Again, for more details please see the event listing.

Upcoming recitals!

I am pleased to announce my first performances since...well, since I launched Tortoiseshell Music. If you live in the Boston area and would like to hear my music, now's your chance. I will be playing two afternoon recitals at the Lily Pad in Cambridge on Saturday, August 30 and Saturday, September 13. For more details, see my concert listings for the 30th and the 13th.

I am looking forward to both performances, but I am especially excited about the first one, which is barely a week away now. This recital will feature the premiere of the first installment of my Holy Tango Songbook, for which I will be joined by some special guests. In the Holy Tango Songbook, I have set poems from Francis Heaney's The Holy Tango of Literature, which is a wonderful collection of literary parodies inspired by anagrams of the original authors' names. I first started to set some of these poems to music back in 2006, and now I get to share the first batch of six songs, still warm from the oven (There are many other poems from The Holy Tango that I would like to set, so expect additional installments in the future). When I informed Francis of my recital plans, he graciously offered to come up from New York to give an introduction and readings. Since Francis and I are both members of the National Puzzlers' League, I decided to seek out other NPL members to round out the performance, so I will be joined by mezzo-soprano Lorinne Lampert and pianist Stephen Williams. Lorinne and Francis both came up from New York for a rehearsal last weekend (while Stephen came from the South Shore), and it was fantastic. Hopefully I won't be shown up as a charlatan for my efforts at singing baritone alongside.

Anyway, Francis, Lorinne, and Stephen have all been very helpful in putting this performance together, and I encourage you to come on August 30 and hear the results. Sadly, I can not fill a full recital with the Holy Tango songs, so you will have to sit through some piano and flute solos beforehand. But maybe you're into that sort of thing. (I shouldn't judge; that would be incredibly hypocritical.) If it is your sort of thing, then you should ALSO come to the recital on the September 13, where I will be playing solo works on piano, bass trombone, flute, and clarinet. (Strange assortment of instruments, I know. I'll let you know if I learn how to play any others in the next three weeks...) And even if you can't make it on either date, recordings of both performances will be available at the store not too long afterward, with some tracks freely available on the site as well. Isn't that something?

Recital at the Lily Pad

Date: 
09/13/2008 - 3:00pm
Venue: 
The Lily Pad
Performers: 
Nathan Curtis, piano, bass trombone, flute, and clarinet

The follow-up to my recital debut on August 30. At this recital, I will be presenting an entirely instrumental program, performing solo works on a wide range of instruments. Come and gawk at my ability to play trombone, flute, piano, AND clarinet! But not all at once.

The concert is scheduled to run from 3 to 4 PM; the doors will open at 2:45. Admission is $10. The Lily Pad has space for 90, but seating is limited, so show up early to claim a seat. In addition to performing my own compositions, I will be featuring works by Beau Kenyon, Warren Weberg, and John McDonald.

ALSO! Note that the date of this concert has been changed from September 6 to September 13.

Recital at the Lily Pad

Date: 
08/30/2008 - 3:00pm
Venue: 
The Lily Pad
Performers: 
Nathan Curtis, piano, flute, and voice
Performers: 
Lorinne Lampert, voice
Performers: 
Stephen Williams, piano
Performers: 
Francis Heaney, reader

Come hear my debut recital at the Lily Pad in Cambridge! I will be presenting a variety of instrumental and vocal works, spanning the full length of my (admittedly brief) compositional career. This recital will include the premiere performance of the Holy Tango Songbook, a setting of poems from The Holy Tango of Literature, by Francis Heaney. If you enjoy literary parodies, sparkling wit, or unrestrained wordplay, you'll love Holy Tango. For this performance, I will be joined by a number of special guests, including Heaney himself, who will give an introduction and/or readings. The program will also include A Very Wibbly News Flash for mezzo-soprano and piano, Four Little Preludes for solo piano, and other works for solo flute or piano.

The recital is scheduled to run from 3 to 4 PM; the doors open at 2:45. Admission is $10. The Lily Pad has space for 90, but limited seating; show up early to claim a seat.

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