I have a nice variety of new pieces that were just released this summer (2016), including two pieces for young band, three percussion ensemble pieces (easy, medium & difficult), a vibraphone solo, an alto saxophone/marimba duet, and a collection of duets for young percussionists.Read More
Classical Revolution is an organization of musicians dedicated to performing high-quality chamber music in non-traditional settings. Founded in November 2006 at Revolution Cafe in San Francisco’s Mission District, we have two important objectives: to enrich the San Francisco Bay Area with accessible chamber music and to create a support network for local musicians.
Classical Revolution now has over 30 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe. My friend Brian Carter, cellist and brewmaster extraordinaire, was in search of more performance outlets for classical musicians in the Triad area of NC and decided to start a chapter in Greensboro in November 2014. He teamed up with a newly established brewery, Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company, to provide a venue for most of the concerts. The first performance on January 18, 2015 featured the Railyard String Quartet—a group formed specifically for this new music series—performing a lovely program of Mozart, Haydn, and Shostakovich.
Now in its second season, @ClassicalRevGso has successfully produced 12 performances. I am thrilled that the next performance is a Composer Spotlight featuring several of my chamber works and showcasing the talents of some of my favorite people. Here's the program as it stands now:
Nathan Daughtrey, composer & percussion
Laura Dangerfield Stevens, flute
Hannah Rose Carter, soprano
Brian Carter, cello
Silencio (solo marimba)
Azul (flute & keyboard percussion) with Laura Stevens
I. Cerulean Ice
II. Sapphiric Flames
Selections from Songs of Venus (solo vibraphone)
Rosemary & Thyme
Yin & Yang
An Extraordinary Correspondence (flute & marimba)
with Laura Stevens
Halcyon Deconstruction (solo marimba & fixed electronics)
EvenStar (soprano, cello, & keyboard percussion)
with Hannah & Brian Carter
The Book of Love (soprano, flute, cello & keyboard percussion) by Stephen Merritt
with Hannah Carter, Laura Stevens & Brian Carter
Sunday, March 20 at 8:00pm
Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company
117 W Lewis Street
Greensboro, NC 27410
Every year, percussionists take over the downtown area of a lucky U.S. city for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). This year, San Antonio welcomes drummers from around the world to the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center. Typically, the best place to find me during the day is at the C. Alan Publications booth (#307) in the exhibit hall and this year will be no different. However, I do get to break away a few times for the world premiere of one of my pieces, a panel discussion I'm participating in, and the morning Fun Runs before anyone else is even awake.
New Music at the C. Alan Booth
I have several brand new compositions and collections that will be available for sale at the convention this year.
Songs of Venus | solo vibraphone
A collection of 8 intermediate solos for vibraphone (3.5- or 3-octave)
On the Spectrum (from high to low) | percussion ensemble 5+ | grade 2
Part of the C. Alan Ignite Series, this is a flexible piece for 5 or more percussionists playing on any instruments they like, so long as they are pitched from high to low.
Fidget | percussion ensemble 8 | grade 4
In the spirit of my pieces Power Struggle and Ellipsis, this is a percussion octet balanced between 4 keyboard and 4 battery parts.
Firefly | percussion ensemble 12 | grade 5
Commissioned by the TCU Percussion Orchestra, this is a 7-1/2 minute, non-stop ride for large percussion ensemble.
The Wexford Carol | solo voice or instrument & percussion ensemble 7-9 | grade 3
One of the most beautifully haunting (and lesser-known) Christmas carols, I arranged this to feature the talents of one of my good friends who is a mezzo soprano.
Bounce | solo trumpet & percussion ensemble 12 | grade 5
Infused with the sounds of Bernstein, Gershwin, and a brief nod to Dizzy Gillespie, Bounce features the trumpet as both a classical and a jazz instrument, offering moments of blazing virtuosity and flexible improvisation.
World Premiere of Firefly (Thursday 10am)
The Texas Christian University Percussion Orchestra, conducted by Brian A. West, commissioned Firefly for their 2015 PASIC Showcase Concert. I'm thrilled they will be opening the concert with it on Thursday 11/12 at 10:00am in the Lila Cockarell Theatre.
Percussion Publisher Panel Discussion (Friday 12pm)
On Friday 11/13 at 12:00pm, I will be representing C. Alan Publications on a panel discussion sponsored by the PAS Composition Committee titled, "Percussion Composition in the Present: A Look at Current Trends Within Percussion Publications." Others on the panel include Chris Brooks from Row-Loff Productions and Jim Casella from Tapspace Publications. Brian Nozny will moderate.
Early Morning Fun Runs (Thursday, Friday, Saturday 6:30am)
For the past several years, I have organized and lead the 6:30am PASIC Fun Runs every morning during the conference. It is a wonderful opportunity to simultaneously exercise and netowkr with other percussionists in all parts of the industry.
The Oregon Percussion Ensemble (from University of Oregon), directed & coached by Pius Cheung and Sean Wagoner, recently performed my newest percussion quintet, Silent Canyons, on two performance before the academic year came to a close. One of these performances was a part of the Celebration Works series at First Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR and received a very positive review by Brett Campbell of Oregon ArtsWatch. Here is the excerpt discussing Silent Canyons:
Dear Directors of Ensembles and Performers,
I recently addressed composers in a blog entry about maximizing your performance royalties from ASCAP. In it, I provided basic step-by-step instructions starting with joining ASCAP and registering all of your works. The second step is to gather concert programs and performance information.
This is where you, the performers & conductors of said works, come in.
Let me begin by saying that I wear all of these hats (composer, performer, director) and constantly have to remind myself to tell composers that I have programmed their works. I have certainly been guilty of concentrating on the upcoming concert or recital that I forgot to contact the living composer(s) represented on the program.
As a composer, I spend time each week trying to track down information about any and every performance of my works. I then contact the directors and/or performers to request a concert program. I like this process. I really do. However, with just a little bit of help from you, this process can be even more streamlined & efficient.
After the ASCAP blog post, a performer friend (Ball State percussionist Ryan Bischoff) shared it on Facebook with a few bullet points as to why he will always report performances to composers and send them programs:
- Composers like to hear that their music is getting played.
- It's simple to help them out. All you have to do is send them a PDF of the program or even just a photo of it.
*If you don't have a scanner but have a smartphone, there are plenty of apps out there for taking a photo of something & saving it as a PDF (e.g. Piksoft's TurboScan).
- You might even get some good publicity, because some composers will mention your performance on their website or social media.
I have made it easy to report performances on my website. Just visit the Report Your Performances page, fill out the form, and click the link to email a program.
At the end of the day, composers love to hear about performances of their works. Something else to consider is that performance royalties make up a percentage of a composer's income. I'd say that about 90% of my performance royalties from ASCAP are the result of my own reporting.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to tell us about your performances.
A Recently Enlightened Composer & Performer
P.S. In case you missed the link buried in the text above . . .
I recently provided the prelude, processional, recessional, and postlude music for the Catholic wedding of a percussionist friend in southern Connecticut. I had performed as part of a marimba quartet for a wedding, but never as an unaccompanied soloist. I was given complete autonomy regarding my literature choices with one exception – Pachelbel's Canon for the bridal processional.
The wedding was lovely. The weekend was great fun. And I learned a few things. Here are 10 of them:
- Connecticut drivers are fast and reckless.
- There is a law in CT allowing passengers to consume alcoholic beverages.
- In related news, Stratford, CT needs to stop trying to make craft beer (or maybe they need to just try a lot harder).
- You only have to drive 7 minutes down the road and you're in a new town/city. Seriously, the hotel, church, rehearsal dinner, & reception were all in different towns.
- Not everyone shares my need to score their wedding like a movie soundtrack. My wedding was in October 2013 and I arranged all of the ceremony music for flute, cello, & marimba. I think I was more concerned with the timing of the music than remembering my vows. Yes, I have issues.
- The following marimba pieces are perfect for wedding prelude music: A Cricket Sang and Set the Sun, True Colours, The Offering, Piacer d'Amor, Memories of the Seashore, opening chorale to the Ewazen Concerto, etc. (see the full wedding playlist below)
- There are apparently some misconceptions about the marimba. Both the pastor and the organist/cantor were concerned I would be playing a bunch of pop music (e.g. The Beatles).
- Improvisation (spontaneous composition) is a good skill to have when the ceremony inexplicably starts 12 minutes late.
- Beethoven's "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" in a lively 7/8 works beautifully as a recessional. It does, however, encourage a slightly lopsided gait.
- This one I learned at my own wedding... Brides are ALWAYS right.
- The Offering - Michael Burritt
- Concerto for Marimba, Mvt. I Opening Chorale - Eric Ewazen
- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - J.S. Bach/arr. N. Daughtrey
- One Hand, One Heart - Bernstein/arr. N. Daughtrey
- Opening - Philip Glass
- Piacer D'Amor - Giovanni Martini/Keiko Abe
- True Colours (first 1-1/2 pages played calmly) - John Thrower
- Una Limosnita por Amor de Dios - Barrios/adapt. N. Daughtrey
- La Catedral - Barrios/adapt. N. Daughtrey
- 'Andante' from A Minor Violin Sonata - J.S. Bach
- Transformation of Pachelbel's Canon - Pachelbell/arr. N. Mimura
- Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee - Beethoven/arr. N. Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)
- Amazing Grace - arr. Nathan Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)
- A Cricket Sang and Set the Sun - Blake Tyson
- All Creatures of Our God & King - arr. Nathan Daughtrey (Sacred Marimbist, Book 2)
- Land - Takatsugu Muramatsu
There are four primary means of making money from writing music:
- Commissions (people paying you to compose a piece for them)
- Sales Royalties (from the sale of physical or digital sheet music, whether your works are with a publisher or self-published)
- Licenses (when your music is arranged, recorded, etc.)
- Performance Royalties (when your music is performed by ensembles/performers in concert venues)
As concert (classical) composers, I think we often neglect performance royalties. We receive our piddly check from ASCAP (or whichever performing rights organization you prefer), use it to buy a cup of coffee, and go about our day. With just a little bit of effort though, you can increase your performance royalties tenfold or even a hundredfold.
The American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) is a performing rights organization (PRO) that collects royalties from presenters and performance venues and distributes them to composers, songwriters, and publishers when their copyrighted works are performed or receive radio/TV play. Other PROs include BMI and SESAC, but I will be focusing on ASCAP, as this is where my interest (and knowledge) lies.
In 2013 ASCAP reportedly distributed $851.2 million to its songwriter, composer, and music publisher members. The majority of this goes to songwriters and publishers of popular music, but there is no reason that we as concert writers can't get a larger piece of that pie.
Essential First Steps
- Become a member of a performing rights organization such as ASCAP if you haven't already.
- Register all of your compositions/works (http://members.ASCAP.com).
Minimal Time Investment = Maximum Financial Return
Each week I spend about 30 minutes total researching performances of my works and reporting them. It has resulted in doubling and tripling my ASCAP performance royalties over the past three years. Unfortunately, ASCAP doesn't make it easy to find info about performance reporting when browsing/searching their website, so follow these steps and you're golden.
Collecting Performance Information
You need to know when and where your compositions are being performed in order to report them, right? Occasionally, conductors and performers take the time to contact you and let you know they will be performing or have recently performed your music. More often than not though, you need to be more proactive.
1) Ask about performances of your pieces via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
I'm always surprised at how many people & performances come out of the woodwork when I simply ask a question.
2) Google your name & titles of your compositions
It might sound a little self-serving and vain, but it works!
3) Search your name & composition titles on YouTube
These might show up in your Google search, but it can't hurt to check here too.
4) Ask the director/performer to send a program
As soon as I learn of past and upcoming performances, I find the email for the director/performer (if I don't already have it in my growing database) and ask them if they will email me a PDF program (the importance of the PDF will present itself later). If this isn't possible, I simply ask that they mail a paper program to me.
5) Create PDF of paper program
If you have a smart phone, you no longer need a scanner to create PDFs. There are many apps out there, but I use TurboScan (by Piksoft) for creating PDFs by simply taking a photo of each page of the program.
Reporting Performance(s) to ASCAP
There is a newly redesigned online form to painlessly fill out for concert music performances (https://www.ascap.com/applications/performancenotification). Bookmark this address, as you will be hopefully returning to it often!
Be sure you have the following before you get started:
- Performance Date(s)
- Performance Venue
- Work(s) Performed plus the ASCAP Work ID for each
- PDF program (ASCAP provides the option to mail them a hard copy, but I have received emails from the Concert Department asking me not to do so any more)
Note: ASCAP does not collect dues from middle schools and high schools. While you can't report those performances using the traditional performance notification form, you should still collect information about them. You will need it later.
ASCAP Plus Award
According to ASCAP, "The ASCAP Plus Awards program is available to writers who received less than $25,000 in domestic performance royalties in the previous calendar year. It rewards writer members of all genres whose works were performed in unsurveyed media as well as writer members whose catalogs have prestige value."
This is where the performance information you gathered about middle and high schools comes into play. For instance, I have a concert band piece being played by a middle school band in their gymnatorium this evening. I will include the performance in my ASCAP Plus Award application (https://members.ascap.com/ma/EwaWeb/ascapAward.do). For this, you only need to know the venue name and location, the performance date, and the performing artist(s). You do not even need the title of the work(s) performed. Additionally, this online form can be saved and returned to at a later date, so you don't need to sit and enter everything at once.
The ASCAP Plus Award shows up in your January domestic distribution. Easy money if you are an active composer.
Sit Back & Watch the Money Roll In!
It really is that simple!
- Learn about performances.
- Collect PDF Programs.
- Complete the ASCAP Performance Notification Form for each performance.
- Apply for annual ASCAP Plus Award.
- Get paid.
Obviously, the more works you have registered in your catalog, the more money you will make from performance royalties. If it seems that your ASCAP checks are not as high as you had hoped, be patient. Sometimes it takes awhile for performances to show up on your quarterly reports. I just assume I won't see results from the fruits of my "labor" for a year from my initial performance reporting.
Still fairly new to writing for the low brass community, I was delighted (and surprised) to receive word that two of my pieces (Spitfire & Coming Home)were selected as finalists in the 2014 International Tuba-Euphonium Association Harvey Phillips Excellence in Composition Award.Read More
I have been very fortunate over the past year to have a steady stream of commissions coming in and keeping me out of trouble. This spring, four of them will come to fruition in four different states. Here's a little information about each.Read More
I am thrilled to announce the launch of my freshly redesigned website. For the past year, I have been pecking away at it, trying to find the perfect combination of design, content, & functionality.Read More
I have two performances fast approaching (at SERTEC & NERTEC) that will hopefully fool audiences full of tuba & euphonium players into thinking I actually know how to write for euphonium. This might sound a little silly and self-deprecating, but there is a nugget of truth in there. Any time I write for an instrument that is NOT one of the percussive persuasion, there is the fear that I am simply pulling the wool over the audience's eyes.
This all started with my very first commission – a duet for oboe and vibraphone composed for Amy Anderson and Lisa Rogers, the oboe and percussion professors from Texas Tech University. Lisa was familiar with my percussion works having conducted Limerick Daydreams & Sizzle, but Amy was certainly taking a chance on my oboe-writing skills. One of their first performances of the piece took place at the International Double Reed Society Conference (a.k.a. the lion's den).
Several other non-percussion ventures have occurred since then (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, wind ensemble, orchestra) and I always feel a little bit lucky when these ventures are successful. However, most of these performances are not in front of such concentrated audiences, especially not with me on display stage.
Today, I return to the lion's den – this time, the Southeast Regional Tuba & Euphonium Conference at the University of North Florida – with the comfort of euphonium player Brian Meixner by my side. We will perform Coming Home for euphonium and piano as well as the world premiere of my newest work Spitfire for euphonium and marimba/vibraphone. Let's just hope that no fruit-throwing ensues.
An Extraordinary Correspondence (for flute & marimba) by Nathan Daughtrey
Laura Stevens, flute
Nathan Daughtrey, marimba
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Faculty Composition/Chamber Recital
Charles E. Hayworth, Sr. Memorial Chapel
High Point University
High Point, NC
*The video is best viewed at 1080p HD quality.
"An Extraordinary Correspondence" is published by C. Alan Publications (© 2012) and available for sale from Steve Weiss Music.
Dr. Eric Willie conducts the Tennessee Tech University Percussion Ensemble at the 2012 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Austin, TX on the New Literature for Percussion Ensemble Session. This is an edited version of Legacies because of time constraints. The duration of the full 10-player piece is approximately eight minutes.
Legacies is available for sale from Steve Weiss Music.
It is a little odd that the only local performances I seem to do are church timpani gigs and extra percussionist gigs with one of the area orchestras, yet I don't hesitate to travel to California, Utah, Pennsylvania, or Texas to give a recital, masterclass, or clinic. Rarely do I even take my marimba or vibraphone out of the house unless I'm driving at least 100-200 miles away from Greensboro. It's not like I don't have Christmas CD to promote. It's not that I don't have plenty of other repertoire to share. Is it laziness? I don't know... I think it's just easy to neglect that which is right under your nose. Those days are over.
On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 I will be giving my first faculty recital at High Point University. Seeing how I teach both music composition and percussion there, it seemed fitting (albeit a little self-serving) to perform a recital of my works. We have a wonderfully talented faculty at HPU and I am delighted to be playing with four of them in what will hopefully be the first of many future collaborations.
Improvisation from Episodes for Solo Piano
Strange Dreams (for alto saxophone and marimba)
with Bob Faub
Encantada (for solo vibraphone)
Coming Home (for euphonium and piano)
with Dr. Brian Meixner
Concerto for Vibraphone (for vibraphone and piano)
with Susan Young
An Extraordinary Correspondence (for flute and marimba)
with Laura Stevens
Halcyon Deconstruction (for solo marimba and electronic accompaniment)
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Charles E. Hayworth Sr. Memorial Chapel
High Point University
833 Montlieu Avenue
High Point, NC
Time for a little shameless self-promotion! I have a bunch of new pieces that were just released for publication over the summer – a mixture of chamber, concert band, and percussion ensemble works. Just hit play on the jukebox player below. It will keep playing even if you click on a link, so browse away!
Shane Reeves (vibraphone) and Briana Leaman (oboe) perform Tangling Shadows at the University of South Carolina. Commissioned by Lisa Rogers and Amy Anderson from Texas Tech University. the piece is based on the poem "Thinking, Tangling Shadows" by Pablo Neruda. The oboe part is also playable on soprano saxophone.
After a lifetime of no collaborations with dancers as a composer, there are all of a sudden three in one semester. Several years ago, I performed Libby Larsen's duet for clarinet and percussion, "Corker," for a dance recital while a student at UNC-Greensboro. Now, I have a couple of my pieces being choreographed and get to coach another exciting collaboration.
Just the other day, my percussion quintet Sizzle! was performing live by the Exclamation! Percussion Ensemble (directed by Delaina Oberman) and dancers at the Flint School of Performing Arts. The performance piece, titled Random Velocity was choreographed by Flint Youth Ballet ballet mistress and FYB alumna, Elizabeth Philippi. More info...
Coming up on March 15, 16 & 17, my marimba/piano duet, Almost Beyond, will be performed on Dance Concerts at High Point University, choreographed by Cara Hagan. Unfortunately, I will be out of town for two of the performances, so they will be dancing to a live recording.
Lastly, Cara & I have paired up students from her Dance Composition class and my Music Composition Seminar class to produce little 1-minute vignettes to be performed at the end of the spring semester. We're leaving up to the students whether the music or dance should come first or whether it should just be an organic process. I'm really excited to see what they churn out.
Looking forward to being proactive about creating more dance collaborations in the future.
The University of Oklahoma Percussion Orchestra, directed by Dr. Lance Drege, performs Spun for keyboard percussion octet by Nathan Daughtrey. The 8-1/2 minute piece was commissioned by Dan Armstrong in 2010 for the Penn State Mallet Ensemble.
"Spun" is published by C. Alan Publications and is available for purchase through Steve Weiss Music.
During my one-semester sabbatical replacement stint at the University of Oklahoma, I met percussionist Josh Knight, who was working on his DMA. Toward the end of the semester, he and I started discussing the possibility of a commission. Once we settled on the instrumentation, we decided that it would be fun to involve several others in the commissioning process, so it quickly evolved into a consortium of 23 percussionists and professors from 16 different states.
I had been wanting to write a piece for solo marimba and percussion quartet since playing pieces like Minoru Miki's "Marimba Spiritual," Michael Burritt's "Shadow Chasers" and Lynn Glassock's "Off Axis" in my formative years as a performer. The pressure of composing for a fairly well-established genre combined with writing to please 23 other percussionists started to get to me before I put pen to paper.
Every composer/writer/artist type has his/her own creative process. After a seemingly never-ending spell of writer's block 2 years ago, I wrote an entry about climbing out of the dark compositional abyss as I finally sorted out the first movement of my vibraphone concerto. Fortunately, I've been able to sidestep those problems since then by writing more regularly and modifying/streamlining my process. In this case, I stumbled across the phrase "halcyon days," which refers to a period of peace and tranquility, in a book I was reading and was delighted to discover its Greek mythological origins. The story of Alycone & Ceyx is rooted in love, death, sacrifice and, as in all stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses, transformation (as illustrated in the painting above with Alcyone changing into a kingfisher).
Here's a recording electronically generated by sounds available in the Virtual Drumline 2.5 library. Feel free to click on the blue line below the sound wave to make comments about specific moments in the music on SoundCloud.com.
"Halcyon Days" received its world premiere on November 17, 2011 at California State University-Long Beach (Dr. Dave Gerhart) with Andrew McAfee as the marimba soloist. It will be available for sale to the rest of the world in the summer of 2012 from C. Alan Publications.
I just returned from the 50th annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis where I was fortunate enough to do so many of the things I love – perform for and talk to an attentive audience about composing for percussion as a percussionist, chat with hundreds of new friends and old at the C. Alan Publications booth while I attempt to sell them music, visit with my awesomely supportive sponsors (Yamaha and Vic Firth) and RUN!
Every year at PASIC I realize how much I talk about (er… annoy people with my posts about) running on Facebook (and here I go again). One of the first things out of people's mouths when I haven't seen them for a year is "Man, you've been running a lot, huh?" It has become something that defines me and I'm okay with that. Let me tell you why though. A couple of years ago, I mused about Why I Think All Classical Musicians Are Pre-Programmed to Be Runners, talking about how similar the disciplines are, whether you are preparing for a marathon or a recital. Potayto, Potahto.
While in Indianapolis this past weekend, more of the career & networking benefits of running became apparent. Over the summer, I volunteered to organize the PASIC Fun Run, which in the past has occurred on Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. during the convention. Historically, the attendance has been rather poor and I was determined to improve on that, so I expanded from one morning to three and plastered the social networks (tweeted with hashtags, created FB events, harassed friends & "friends" on their FB walls) to get the word out.
What we ended up with was a terrifically eclectic group of percussionists each morning that had this common thread of running (and drumming). Where else are you going to hop from conversations with percussion professors from New Mexico, Missouri, Connecticut, Texas & South Carolina to the President-Elect of PAS to husband/wife drummer/percussionist for actor/musician Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan Band? We didn't set any speed records. We didn't run terribly far. We did have a lot of fun, meet new people and talk about anything from marathons to the new Schwantner Percussion Concerto to the mess at Penn State to our upcoming concerts & recitals. Even people who didn't join us for the runs each morning used topic of the Fun Runs as a conversation ice-breaker since I had posted about it so much leading up to the conference.
In the clinic I co-presented with Josh Gottry at the convention, I encouraged the young percussionists & budding composers in the audience, in the spirit of networking, to approach performers and composers they might have put up on a pedestal. They're all people. I think any two people can have at least one common thread that can break the ice – be it percussion, sports, politics or even…
Good for your health. Good for your career.