Scrag Mountain Music Residency

During the 2013-2014 season I was composer-in-residence at the Vermont-based concert series Scrag Mountain Music. The residency included numerous performances, open rehearsals, and workshops, and culminated in the premiere of Looking at Spring: Meditations on Aging, a song cycle written with librettist Liza Balkan exploring the process of aging. The piece drew on interviews with seniors living in central Vermont. It was a joy to work with the wonderful folks at Scrag Mountain (and to eat their food!!), and to get to know all sorts of generous, thoughtful and interesting people in central Vermont, a place I lived for two years during my childhood.

more information about the residency from Scrag Mountain Music:

Week 1 – October 7-13, 2013
Aizuri String Quartet and Lembit Beecher
music of Hungary and Estonia

We begin the season with concerts and a Very Open Rehearsal which will celebrate Lembit’s Estonian heritage and Estonia’s linguistic connections to Hungary.  Featured works include Lembit’s string quartet These Memories May Be True and folksongs arranged by Kodály and Tormis.  The program includes Lembit on piano and concertina, and the Aizuri Quartet from New York City.

Week Two – February 11-16, 2013
The Most Beautiful Waltz
Musical Dances for Valentine’s Day

Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend Scrag-style with concerts featuring Lembit’s Small Suite for clarinet, viola, double bass, and bassoon and his Three Songs of Remembered Love for double bass and soprano.  Also on the program will be Judd Greenstein’s Summer Dances.  Don’t miss the Very Open Rehearsal on Tuesday night!

Week Three – April 4-9 2013
Workshop week: The Composition Process

The image of a composer writing music is generally one of tortured isolation.  In typical style, Scrag Mountain Music is out to change that.  The composer, librettist, and musicians will be in residency in Vermont for five days in April to workshop the piece-in-progress. During that time the librettist will conduct interviews with Vermonters around the theme of aging and the composer will work to set these ideas to music with the aid of the musicians who will be premiering the piece. This represents a unique opportunity for a composer to have full access to the musicians without the pressure of an imminent performance.   At the end of this residency – on Tuesday April 8 – Scrag Mountain Music will hold a “very open composing session” where the audience can witness the early stages of the composition and ask questions of the composer, librettist, and performers. The evening will also include a time for the public to react to the emotional content of the work and share their own experiences and observations on the aging process.

Very Open Composing Session: Musical Meditations on Aging – A look inside the compositional process: Tuesday, April 8: 7:00-8:30pm at the Warren United Church

Week Four – May 27-June 1, 2014: 
World Premiere

The residency culminates with the world premiere of a new piece of vocal chamber music written for Scrag Mountain Music.  Also on the program is Schubert’s magnificent Trout Quintet featuring Evan on double bass.  Join us Tuesday night for our last Very Open Rehearsal of the season.