I am thrilled to announce that a new work of mine, “Wilt Thou Be True?”, will receive its premiere performance on February 24. It was commissioned by the same ensemble that will be performing it, the PMEA Region 1 Chorus. (More details about the performance can be found on my Upcoming Events page.)
Let me be candid: After several years of paying dues as a composer, this is the kind of project I’ve been waiting for. Not only will the piece be performed by a fantastic choir made up of some of the finest young voices in the area, but it puts my name and music in the hands of lots of music teachers. I didn’t accept the project for the publicity, but it’s certainly appreciated.
I’m also really looking forward to spending a little bit of time with the choir. I had several opportunities to meet composers when I was in high school, and it’s really fun to have the tables turned, to be the composer in the scenario. I remember a few specific conversations I had with composers, conversations that began with me asking, “What advice do you have for an aspiring composer?” I don’t remember any of the answers, but I do remember being encouraged, nonetheless.
Maybe there will be a bit of a Q&A, or maybe individual students will have questions for me. I’m not sure what will happen, of course, but here’s what I’m hoping for: I’m hoping there will be at least one student there who will feel a connection to my music. Not the typical type of connection, the “this is nice” or “I like this” connection, but the “I want to do this” connection. Maybe they’ll have a question or two for me, maybe not, but regardless, I hope that they’ll be encouraged, maybe even inspired. I hope that, by the end, their feeling of “I want to do this” will have turned into some combination of “I can do this” and “I will do this.”
That’s why I’m excited about this project, and why I’m looking forward to this performance. I’m hoping to provide the same sort of encouragement for an aspiring composer that I received when I was in high school. If I’m able to that, or at least something close to it, I will consider this project a huge success.
Chris Massa is a US-born musician based in Durham, England. You are on his site right now.