artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
...just not posting much.

This week I have been mostly writing a Magnificat, which I've sent off for a competition entry; and messing about with a draft of a piece from a few months ago. Think I nearly have the layout sorted now; it's in 12 parts, and the piano reduction was a bit monstrous to piece together.

Last week I was putting the final touches on a setting of a poem by one of my patrons, commissioned by his wife for an important birthday. He seems pleased with it, and I'll go and see them both for a picnic tomorrow.

Today I was with London Gallery Quire for the first of two recording days for our new CD. It was enjoyable, the Quire is an amateur group and the CD is not going to be perfect. I felt we could have done a bit more, but also that there is wisdom in quitting while you are singing well and feeling good; I think definitely stopped at a good time.

Monday I'm on my way back to Aberdeen, with a supervision on Tuesday. I have not actually done the "short fast madrigal" my supervisor suggested I write. I have also not yet composed something to put on Patreon this month, and there isn't much of the month left to do it in, though I have an idea of what I'll do.

Extant commissions:
St Andrew's Cathedral
Wordless Lullabye

Forthcoming competitions:
Busan (probably can't be arsed) 31/5
Vox 04/06 (could use Sara Teasdale one for this, I think, if I can't write something in time, which I probably can't.)
Melodia (application, I don't have to write something unless commissioned) 15/6
Wilmslow (if I can get near an organ to try some things out? Not desperately fussed about this one to be honest) 31/7
Hendrix 01/8 (finding a text is going to be the hard bit)
Claremont 01/9
Laudem 15/9 (They've specified a text but their instructions aren't clear; I need to ask about it)
Polyphonos (application I think?) 15/9

Calls for Scores:
Pacific Edge 01/8
Juice Vocal Ensemble 16/10

short fast madrigal
there is a spirit
start thinking about Mass setting stuff
finish 'O Nata Lux'

Stuff on the general composing to-do list/back-burner:
Pigeons (I didn't get the Boston commission)
Gemma's poetry
Turn under plow
When on life's path (Adrian)
I always tried to write about the light
Dear Sir (maybe for Uncommon Music festival if they have it again)
Docbrush Ubi Caritas
SOMETHING for Choirs Against Racism. It's a matter of finding the right (public domain) text.
Down by the Whitening Birches
Wisdom hymn tune
The Just's Umbrella (subject to permission from author)
Nunc to match the Mag I submitted last night? But I may need to let the Mag sit for a while and do some revision.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I'm feeling skint again (quelle change) and I was thinking aloud about this over at the [community profile] crowdfunding community. I got some good advice, and have some ideas to be getting on with.

Specifically, though, I'm wondering how people would feel about something like this? It's a bit like [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl events, which seem to work quite well.

I arrange a work -- say, "She's like the swallow", for descant and treble (that's soprano and alto) recorders, since I'm actually working on that at the moment.

When I finish it, I'll post and say so, and you can buy the sheet music from my Lulu shop, but not for another full calendar year (or other arbitrary date). But if crowdfunding for it reaches, say, £100 (or some other amount, I'm going to base it on the length of the pieces though) by the end of the week, I will not only unlock the physical sales, but also put the sheet music online next month for anyone to use. If you donate, your name will go in the .pdf, and for £15 (or some other amount, again this will depend a bit on the length, especially as anything more than two sides of A4 needs me to send it away for printing) you will get a printed copy, signed by me (whether or not the total goal is reached).

The plan would be to wait until I have 5 or 6 different arrangements -- maybe a couple for recorders, some vocal ones, some brass ones -- and then have a sort of sale, so I can batch the admin. There will be robotic instruments playing a selection from each piece. Any that don't reach their total amount can be held back to go into a later sale; I can also say "if the total for this sale reaches £500 (or some other amount), there will be a bonus arrangement" and then people can vote on which one that should be.

I'm not sure of the right timescale. Monthly has some advantages, but I'm not sure I actually have time and spoons to produce enough arrangements and do all the associated admin on a monthly basis while I'm also composing and doing a PhD. Quarterly might be better to start out with. I also need to work out whether to host it here at Dreamwidth or at my Wordpress blog, which I tend to keep for more polished updates. I'm leaning toward there, because for people who aren't from the livejournalliverse, WP looks more "professional"; but here would let me do things like polls in a way that I'm not sure how to on WP. I'll have to think about this further, and explore the technical options.

The idea is that this would be a supplement to, not a replacement for, my composing income.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Would you prefer it with prompts, so you can request more arrangements of Canadian folk songs for recorder duo, or of Swedish music for Sancta Lucia arranged for upper voices, or of Easter hymns for brass quintet? Is this the sort of thing you would contribute to? Is it the sort of thing you would signal boost?


Mar. 29th, 2017 05:53 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Saturday: organ recital at lunchtime, chat with Ali Willis in the afternoon. It was work, honest! Do not be deceived by the fact that we had icecreams and were sitting on the beach!

Sunday: Church in the morning (Mothering Sunday, often a difficult one for me and this year no exception), then sang in Lenten reflective concert sort of thing in the afternoon, including the Magnificat from Paul Mealor's Selwyn Service -- under-rehearsed. Most of the music quite beautiful though. In the evening, a wind band/concert band concert at the Beach Ballroom, which seems like quite a good venue for such things.

Monday: sort-of a day off but there was Composers' Forum in the late afternoon/early evening, which was interesting. I don't often get to go. This was four of the Carlaw/Ogston Prize winners presenting about their pieces. Walked back with AW afterward and we had another chat over dinner, which I found very helpful and clarifying; more on that in another post.

Tuesday: not an amazingly productive day. Too much feeling overwhelmed by deadlines, not enough actually doing anything about them. Realised I can't use West Gallery piece I've been sitting on for ages until I have permission to use the text (I have implicit permission but need explicit). Thought about using 'Fall, Leaves, Fall' since I even have a demo recording of that one but I really want to leave it until I've found a choir to premiere it; must poke Dissenters Choir about it. They schedule things really far in advance so that would be maybe 2018. Wondering if I can find anyone to do it sooner than that, and write something else for Dissenters Choir. Set up Hootsuite to do some auto-promotion. Replied to e-mail about forthcoming Kickstarter project, due to launch Real Soon Now. Transcribed West Gallery piece I've been sitting on for ages, but part of the reason I was sitting on it is that my setting of the third verse is weak and needs to be scrapped and re-written. Panicked about deadlines some more. (OK, tha'ts more productive than it felt.)

Today: Some more futzing about with deadlines. Realised I could submit "O sweet and blessed country" for ORTUS and *also* use it for my Patreon piece this month; I mean, it would be better to get a choir to premiere it first, but given that I'm not writing especially fast and I need to get something up by Friday... yeah. I could use 'O Nata Lux' but I made some changes after Friday's workshop and I want time to let them settle, also there's a choir in Ireland interested in performing them and I'd like to give them a premiere. And there's 'Round Me Falls The Night' but that's still away at a competition which I haven't heard back from (and won't until 1st June), which means I can't put it online yet. And 'Winter Stars' is also in a competition and the winners won't be announced until "mid-June, with an official announcement by the end of that month." So, that's a thing. Did an initial draft of an SATB setting of Plowman's Song by Raymond Knister, a Canadian poet. I have in mind to do a setting of The Quiet Snow too. Maybe with another couple of short seasonal poems they could make a set?

Anyway, that's all fine, but I still want to write something for MASNOU and it needs to be at least three minutes long and I ned to finish it by Friday.


I think what's happening, here, is that I'm getting my work performed more, or at least exploring avenues for performance more, and I'm entering more competitions... and between that and sortof preferring (at least for the SATB stuff) to get at least a demo recording before putting new things online, actually releasing music is happening much later now, rather than just when I write stuff. I'm sitting on at least three pieces, four really if I wanted to get 'O Nata Lux' out quickly. Which is fine, but I want to get paid every month. Hmm. The answer, as always, is "write more music".

I'm still enamoured of the idea of finishing one composition or arrangement every week, but I have not really started arranging, and I think it's fair to say that I can't compose one item a week unless a lot of them are hymn tunes.

I also, at some stage, need to look at the next lot of competition deadlines, and make some decisions about which ones to enter; I've seen some interesting ones going past so need to check the usual places. Maybe I'll do that this evening; I want to try for a draft of the MASNOU piece first though, and to do that, I have to settle on a text.

EDIT: I also really need to get a first draft of the Cathedral commission done! arghhhhh etc.


Jan. 25th, 2017 03:38 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Spent some time on a piece I'm writing for LGQ, to words by another member. It's in three verses, but the character changes a lot, so I'm doing the first verse TB and the second verse SA and the third verse SATB in the tonic major relative to where I started, and a different time signature. I have about 11 bars to fill in some harmony on before I'll be finished the second pencil draft, at which point I can move it along one step and put it in the computer.

I use a personal kanban system for organising my composing. more on my workflow organisation )
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Well, I was supposed to be doing some composing today. Instead I saw that someone I sortof know who has 150k Twitter followers and writes for a national magazine has set up a Patreon account and in less than 24 hours attracted over 200 pledges, to the tune of $1700/month. And I felt bad, and inadequate, and a bit jealous, if I'm honest, especially since she gets paid for a lot of her writing work already. There is a lot of advice out there for people starting out on Patreon, much more than there was when I started nearly 3 years ago, but a lot of it simply isn't suitable for what I'm doing; it assumes an end product more engaging than a piece of sheet music. And the quickest way to get a sustainable income there is to already have fans.

So I spent some time reminding myself to keep my eyes on my own work, and reminding myself that just because my work is much more niche and not as instantly relateable and not so popular does not mean that it is worth less or is in any way less important.

My work is important. My music has broader value to society. If I didn't believe these things I wouldn't do it.

But keeping my eyes on my own work only goes so far; just because I'm not famous-on-the-internet and I don't have 150k followers anywhere and what I create is rather niche, doesn't mean there is nothing I can do.

Things I can do:

  • load up Hootsuite with a bunch of auto-tweets/FB posts again so that people actually know about my Patreon and my music, and keep doing it

  • collaborate with others more -- poets, other musicians, artists

  • get my website in slightly better order (this is a work in progress)

  • get my business cards finished and printed, and always carry some, and don't be afraid to give them out when I meet people in person

  • put more of my work on Lulu so that if people do want to buy printed copies, they can

  • make more recordings/get more recordings made so that people hear my work more (and look into ways of doing this other than giving all my money to Choral Tracks, though I intend to keep using that for some work)

  • take more pictures -- seriously, it's worth a try, partly because Instagram is apparently v good if you post regularly, partly because people relate better to pictures, partly because it helps tell a story of my work

I actually have plans to do most of this stuff, so it's not as if I'm sitting around in a cave, writing music and then wondering why nobody has ever heard of me. The thing is, actually doing all of this takes time and energy, and finding a balance where it doesn't take time and energy away from composing is the trick of it. It's winter, and last year was tough for me in many ways and I'm still recovering from that, which combined mean I could spend the entirety of my time on the admin and still be flailing. And maybe the important thing about the PhD work, for now, is that it gives me an obvious focus for the composing itself, a reason to do that before falling down the rabbit-hole of trying to fine-tune socmed or whatever to maximise my income.

And now I have to go to LGQ rehearsal, so that's the afternoon gone, and I've not composed a single naked note OR done any academic reading/listening and I haven't made it to Evensong. Tomorrow is a stay-at-home-and-do-admin day, but I think in the circumstances I can use some of it for composing too.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I found a performance of my work in the wild, so to speak: 24th April 2016 at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.


--I need to be noting the performances of my work that I do find out about in a more systematic fashion
--Many of them I only find out about by searching for my name. Is there a bot that can do this once a month? How do I set up such a thing, for free and with basically no tech knowledge?
--Sometimes I find out about these things beofrehand, in which case I generally try and get in touch with the director of music (or whoever) and thank them for performing my work. Is this still okay when it's months later? (I'm leaning toward yes...)
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I still haven't worked out what to do with poems that I want to set, but don't want to set right now: either because my plate is full and I need to shift some backlog, or because they aren't yet in the public domain but probably will be within my lifetime.

For example, today I happened across Student Taper by James Stephens. It won't be public domain until 2020 (given no change in law and the crick don't rise). I want to be reminded of it in mid-2019.

Is there an easy way to do this? I could start a free wordpress blog and schedule posts far into the future, but then I risk breaking copyright myself if I'm posting them, say, six months before they actually pass into the public domain.

Suggestions welcome.

Text issues

Jan. 5th, 2017 06:03 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I spent a good bit of yesterday, and almost all my working time today, reading poetry.

I am looking for something for a Canadian composing competition. There are a few this year, because of the 150th birthday celebrations, and they tend to be open to Canadian citizens/permanent residents: this is a rather smaller pool of entrants than some competitions have, so it feels more important to enter.

But, well. What's an appropriate text? These aren't sacred choirs or competitions for the most part, so something secular would be good; yet, I'd still like it to feel transcendent enough that I relate to it as I might relate to a sacred text. I'm not much of a patriot and I'm uncomfortable with nationalism, but something Canadian-themed seems like a good idea. But I also don't feel I can do justice to anything touching on the genocidal colonialism that is part of Canada's history and still results in serious oppression for First Nations people today; nor do I want to pretend that didn't happen by only focusing on aspects of Canadian history that are seen more positively.

So, then, a text on a nice safe topic by a Canadian author seems in order. Great! But most of the good stuff isn't in the public domain; and what is in the public domain has failed to grab me, so far. I can't tell whether that's because it's doggerel, or whether it's simply that I've read so much that everything seems like mush now.

I could use some of my grandmother's poetry. I've not previously found it easy to get an official-sounding signed permission form from my father regarding the copyright; the closest is an e-mail along the lines of "Of course you can use any of Gramma's poetry, dear" which... won't really cut it. I can probably ask him to just sign something if I can come up with some wording, but the likelihood of managing that before this particular deadline is low. I also don't speak enough legalese to know where to start with this; and if I then want to release the music itself under a Creative Commons license, which is my preferred practice, it gets even more complicated.

So, I'm probably going to have a bash at setting one of my own poems. I'll need to make some changes to the language: nobody in Canada talks about a terraced house, really. And it feels very, very vulnerable, setting this poem, which is about a real person in my life. Also, it's a bit of a sod to set: a lot of sudden contrasts between the fantasy and reality sections, and wordy in places, and with no real resolution. But I have been meaning to set it for quite some time.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I need a new biog, as my existing standard one is... well, a bit too biographical, if you like, and not enough about my music. In particular, I need something to put on the Association of Canadian Women Composers site.

So far I ahve this:

"Kathryn Rose is a composer, pianist, organist, horn player and
serpentist who was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and now lives in
the UK.

Her lyrical choral music has been performed in the UK, Canada, the US,
the Netherlaands, Germany, and Singapore. She has a keen instinct for
singable, haunting melodies, and enjoys deceptive and interrupted
cadences. Her preference in choral composing is to emphasize the
words, and she frequently uses word painting and careful attention to
metre and word stress to achieve this.

Kathryn is currently studying for a PhD in contemporary sacred choral
composition with Paul Mealor at the University of Aberdeen. She is
passionate about accessibility and community inclusion in music at all
levels, and uses crowdfunding to make her choral music available

Suggestions and comments welcome.


artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)

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