New Releases for 2016-17!

New Releases for 2016-17!

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.

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Review: Silent Canyons for Percussion Quintet

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:

The second half opened with the second-ever performance of under-40 composer Nathan Daughtrey’s scintillating quintet Silent Canyons, whose haunting vibes and bowed metal instruments and whispered vocals created a mysterious atmosphere that then exploded into a cymbal- and drum-driven thrill ride before returning to the shadow lands at the end. The variety and volume of the instruments filled the space to a degree difficult for conventional chamber instruments to match.
— Brett Campbell, Oregon ArtsWatch (May 30, 2014)

An Open Letter to Directors & Performers

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:

  1. Composers like to hear that their music is getting played.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

Sincerely,
A Recently Enlightened Composer & Performer

P.S. In case you missed the link buried in the text above . . . 


Getting Paid: Tips for ASCAP Concert Music Composers

There are four primary means of making money from writing music: 

  1. Commissions (people paying you to compose a piece for them)
  2. Sales Royalties (from the sale of physical or digital sheet music, whether your works are with a publisher or self-published)
  3. Licenses (when your music is arranged, recorded, etc.)
  4. 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!

  1. Learn about performances.
  2. Collect PDF Programs.
  3. Complete the ASCAP Performance Notification Form for each performance.
  4. Apply for annual ASCAP Plus Award.
  5. 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.

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.

Video: An Extraordinary Correspondence (flute & marimba)

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.

Video: Legacies (percussion ensemble) at PASIC 2012

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.

Strange Dreams: A Faculty Composition & Chamber Recital

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. 

Program

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)

Recital Details

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Free Admission

Charles E. Hayworth Sr. Memorial Chapel

High Point University

833 Montlieu Avenue

High Point, NC 

Facebook Event

New Releases for 2012-13

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!

An Extraordinary Correpondence for Flute & Marimba
Commissioned by Jennifer & Richard Elliott 
Purchase from Steve Weiss Music

Coming Home for Euphonium & Piano
Commissioned by Christian Folk 
Purchase from J.W. Pepper

Gate City Snapshot for Concert Band (Grade 3)
Commissioned by Brent Davis & the Mendenhall Middle School 8th Grade Band 
Purchase from J.W. Pepper

Halcyon Days for Solo Marimba with Percussion Quartet
Commissioned by Josh Knight & a Consortium of Percussionists & Directors 
Purchase from Steve Weiss Music

Halcyon Deconstruction for Marimba and Electronic Accompaniment
Purchase from Steve Weiss Music

Legacies for Percussion Ensemble (10 players)
Commissioned by the NC Chapter of Percussive Arts Society
Purchase from Steve Weiss Music

Star of Wonder for Holiday Percussion Ensemble (7-9 players)
Written for Andrew Dancy and the 2012 Marimba Christmas Ensemble
Purchase from Steve Weiss Music

Video: Tangling Shadows (oboe & vibraphone) by Nathan Daughtrey

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.

"Tangling Shadows" is published by C. Alan Publications and is available from Steve Weiss Music.

Dance Collaborations

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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.

Halcyon Days for Solo Marimba & Percussion Quartet

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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 for solo marimba & percussion quartet by Nathan Daughtrey

"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.

New Pieces at PASIC 2011!

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, here's a list and brief description of all of my new publications that will be available at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (or PASIC...we love our acronyms) next week in Indianapolis.

Concerto for Vibraphone & Wind Ensemble (full score to peruse)
Solo Vibraphone w/ Wind Ens | 4-mallet | 15:00 

The Cry
Percussion Ensemble | 12 players | 11:00

Edge of the World
Keyboard Percussion Quintet (w/ opt. aux. perc.) | 4:00

Encantada
Solo Vibraphone | 4-mallet | 4:30 

The Sacred Marimbist, Volume 2
Solo 4.3-octave Marimba | Hymn Arrangements | 4-mallet | 25:00-35:00

Spun
Keyboard Percussion Ensemble | 8 players | 8:30

Topsy Turvy
Young Percussion Ensemble | 6-14+ players | 2:40

Everything can be found at the C. Alan Publications booth in the exhibit hall (Booth #227-231). Hope to see you there!

Ellipsis at the Eastern Music Festival 7/27/11

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Now in its 50th season, the Eastern Music Festival has been acting as a gateway for young classical musicians from all over the world right in my backyard since I came to Greensboro 18 years ago. I even served for one season as the coordinator for the Project:Listen Program, EMF's now defunct outreach arm. 

I'm honored to now have to my piece Ellipsis performed by the EMF Percussion Ensemble during this landmark season.

EMF Percussion Ensemble Concert
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
4:00 p.m.
Dana Auditorium, Guilford College (Greensboro, NC)
General Admission: $9 

Many thanks to John Shaw, principal percussionist with the Florida Orchestra & percussion instructor at St. Peterburg College, and Eric Schweikert, principal timpanist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic & Director of Percussion at EMF for including my music on the program.

Flute & Marimba: An Extraordinary Correspondence

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The flute and the marimba have a fairly short yet rich history. However, it wasn't until I was commissioned to write a piece for the combination a year ago that I started exploring it more in depth. Not having performed any flute/marimba duets, I was delighted to find some wonderful pieces for the combination (see the lists below). Additionally, more and more performance duos have been popping up in recent years, helping to expand the repertoire. I encourage you to check out the plethora of recordings from some of the pioneers in the genre by Googling some of the names of performers in the list below.

Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity when Rick and Jenn Elliott contacted me about a commission for flute and marimba. I had already written pieces for clarinet/marimba, oboe/vibraphone and alto saxophone/marimba.  Those reedy wind instruments blend extremely well with the mellow woodiness of the marimba. Honestly, you don't have to work that hard to make them sound good together. When preparing to write for flute and marimba, I listened carefully to the qualities of the different registers of both instruments and how I might play them off one another. I recall falling in love with the lower register of the flute (lower half of the treble clef staff) and finding ways to have that rich, breathy sound emerge out of the marimba playing in the same register. In fact, this is how the piece opens.

The title of the duet, An Extraordinary Correspondence, comes from the subtitle to the book "Griffin & Sabine" by Nick Bantock. This groundbreaking book appeals to our (taboo) voyeuristic desires to read the mail of others. The story follows two people who have never met that start writing to one another because Sabine shares Griffin's "sight." He's an artist and she can see what he draws and paints as it is happening. As their relationship unfolds, they quickly find that they are actually living in parallel worlds. I followed the arc of the story pretty closely, having the marimbist play the role of Griffin and the flutist play the role of Sabine. 

Listen

Rick and Jenn Elliott will perform the world premiere of "An Extraordinary Correspondence" on August 7, 2011 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hamilton, OH. The piece will be published C. Alan Publications and available to the rest of the world in June of 2012.

Resource Lists

Works for Flute & Marimba
1958: Tanner, Peter - Diversions for Flute & Marimba
1977: Wilder, Alec - Suite for Flute & Marimba
1984: Klatzow, Peter - Figures in a Landscape
1997: Farr, Gareth - Kembang Suling
1997: Tanabe, Tsuneya - Recollections of the Inland Sea
2001: Gillingham, David - Five Fantasies of Natural Origin
2002: Hasenpflug, Thom - 5 Mornings for Flute and Marimba

Works for Flute & Percussion
1958: Wilder, Alec - Suite for Flute & Bongos Nos. 1 & 2
1964: Harrison, Lou - Concerto #1
1966: Dahl, Ingolf - Duettino for Flute & Percussion
1974-80: Adams, John Luther - Songbirdsongs
1994: Parker, Philip - Beneath the Canopy

Flute & Percussion Performance Duos
Armstrong Duo (Eleanor Armstrong, flute & Dan Armstrong, percussion)
McCormick Duo (Kim McCormick, flute & Bob McCormick, percussion)
Tambous Duo (Holly Stackhouse, flute & Theodore Frazeur, percussion)
Verederos Duo (Jessica Johnson, flute & Payton MacDonald, percussion)
Marc Grauwels & Sarah Mouradoglou
Michael Haldeman & John Samuel Roper
Richard & Jennifer Elliott

Bibliography & discography of works for flute and percussion compiled by flutist Larry Krantz:
http://www.larrykrantz.com/fltperc.htm

Topsy Turvy for Young Percussion Ensemble

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While living in Houston a few years ago, I started developing a new series for C. Alan Publications that would feature percussion ensemble pieces for younger groups with flexible duration, instrumentation and number of players. The Ignite Series for the Developing Ensemble will finally be coming to fruition this spring/summer with a fresh collection of pieces by C. Alan composers, including Josh Gottry, Mario Gaetano, Adam Miller, Kandis Taylor, Scott Harding, Donna Bohn and myself.

My first contribution, titled Topsy Turvy, is meant to conjure up the magical sights and sounds under the big top of the circus. The piece features very flexible instrumentation and also provides the opportunity to 1 or 2 students to be in the spotlight playing percussion "toys," such as siren whistle, slide whistle, slapstick, duck call, ratchet, vibraslap, flexatone, brake drums, or cowbells. It is playabale by as few as 6 players or as many as 14.

Topsy Turvy will receive its world premiere on May 10, 2011 by the Braxton Craven Middle School Percussion Ensemble, directed by Chris Ferguson and Lindsey Eskins.

Look Inside
Topsy Turvy Score

Listen

Instrumentation
Bells & Toys (double with Vibraphone)
Xylophone & Toys (double with Marimba)
Optional Vibraphone
Optional Marimba
Timpani (2 drums)
Snare Drum & Woodblock (double with Bongos)
2 Concert Toms & Suspended Cymbal (double with Temple Blocks)
Bass Drum & Acme Police Whistle (double with Low Tom)
Optional Toys (extracted from other players' parts) 

More information...

Slovenian Performance of Downtown Dash

While tooling around on YouTube, I discovered this video of a Slovenian concert band (Prekmurska Godba Bakovci, conducted by Željko Ritlop) playing my Grade 2.5 band piece Downtown Dash. The piece was featured in the most recent volume (8) of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band.

Downtown Dash is published by C. Alan Publications and available from music stores worldwide.