Trial by Spitfire: NOT Writing for Percussion

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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.