August 27, 2019

2018-19 Season Recap

Conducting Fauré's "Pavane" at the Slovak Radio Building, Bratislava, Slovakia.

This past season was a wonderful year of music making, and it was great to be so busy! I’ll share a few highlights with you here.

First, an especially exciting event was making my debut at Carnegie Hall, appearing as guest conductor with Carnegie’s Ensemble Conncect to perform John Adam’s energetic and virtuosic Chamber Symphony. It was a challenging endeavor, as the piece sought to capture the manic energy of old cartoons (think Bugs Bunny) through totally chaotic and difficult passages for each member of the ensemble. In the end, everything came together quite nicely, and it was an exciting performance! (Some people in the audience were even laughing at the end, which was totally the point!). You can read a short little review here.

Another highlight for me was traveling to Europe in mid-March, specifically to Bratislava, Slovakia, where I was guest conductor for the first Nord Anglia Performing Arts Festival, Europe and the Middle East. I worked with young musicians from those two continents, and had a blast! We performed selections by Rossini, Mozart, Bartok, and Brahms, and ended the whole concert with a joint orchestra-and-choir version of Fauré’s “Pavane”, which I arranged with a new text entitled “Dream a Dream”. It was a big hit with the kids and with the audience, and I was very happy to see so many young musicians inspired and enjoying making music together.

As a composer, I had two major premieres. First, my dear friend and pianist extraordinaire Benjamin Hochman premiered my Sonata Shambhala at Marlboro College in Vermont, and subsequently performed the work in Seattle, WA, and Ghent, NY. The composing process lasted nearly 15 months, producing a work nearly a half hour in length. I was very honored to write for Benjy, and was quite thrilled to hear the work. You can hear Benjy talk about it (as well as another work he premiered this past year by fellow composer Gilad Cohen) here (starting at ca. 2:35).

Post-performance of Sonata Shambhala in Ghent, NY. Left to right: Jesse Brault, Benjamin Hochman, and Gilad Cohen.

Second, I was very lucky to have my violin duet Conversations performed on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase by Concerts For Compassion’s Mariella Haubs and Jocelyn Zhu. They are a wonderfully talented duo, taking their musical skills all over the world as musical ambassadors for peace, civility, and compassion. Writing in celebration of their project, the piece depicts a meeting of two individuals who share their stories to each other. You can hear a short interview with Mariella, Jocelyn, and myself talking about the piece, as well as the second movement, here (starting ca. 22:50).

At WQXR’s recording studio with Mariella Haubs, Jocelyn Zhu, host Robert Sherman, Matthew Maimone, and myself.

Stay tuned for updates about concerts, recitals, and other projects for the 2019-20 season!

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