First Post


It has taken a while, but I'm happy to finally have a presence on the Interwebs. It's been a busy summer:
• reading AP Music Theory exams for a week in Cincinnati (kinda like preparing tax returns, except you're combing the paperwork to find "egregious" voice leading errors and poor chord choices instead of fake meal receipts and bad math)
• jazz camps with great young musicians at both UNL and the Yellowstone Jazz Camp near beautiful Cody, WY
• writing some music for the USAF Band of Flight @ Wright-Patterson AFB as well as for my colleague Art Bouton at the University of Denver. 
In the midst of all this, my family and I were able to squeeze in a week together at "the huts of my wife's people" in Northdaktoah and Minnesotah. The accents start to get so thick, it's like being on the set of the film Fargo for a week (with much nicer people and without the gore). We even had time for a refreshing (i.e., icy) dip in the Lake of the Woods! 

School starts soon...I look forward to re-connecting with my students and colleagues. This also means that I have to get back to work on my writing schedule. My near-term project schedule includes commissions for:
• The Nihon University Rhythm Society Orchestra (Japan)
• The Conjunto-High Energy Big Band (Japan)
• The Taipei Jazz Orchestra
• The Shanghai Conservatory of Music Jazz Orchestra
• New music for publication by Belwin Jazz Publications

• Re-orchestrating my Three Scenes for American Trombone and Brass Orchestra (premiered in 2008 by the great Joe Alessi and the USAF Brass in Blue, Offutt AFB) for solo trombone and wind ensemble. I look forward to hearing my UNL colleague Dr. Scott Anderson throw down on this new version some time in the upcoming academic year.

This year, I'm especially excited to be taking over the podium of the UNL Jazz Orchestra. My good friend, Dr. Paul Haar, has invested years in building a world class college band here at UNL. As a result of his work and the great work of our students, this band won its first Downbeat™ award this year. Paul has generously turned the band over to me this year, so that he can concentrate on overseeing the development of our new MM and DMA programs in Jazz Studies. I'll miss my musicians in the "other" jazz ensemble, the UNL Big Band...we've had a great two years together. This year, the UNL Jazz Studies program has booked a very cool roster of guest artists (Ingrid & Christine Jensen, Bill Watrous), so we should all be in for a good ride this year.

A few days ago, I was invited to do a composer residency at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and with the Taipei Jazz Orchestra in November! I'm very excited about this...I've never been to Asia. I look forward to meeting new friends and working with new students and colleagues. We'll be performing concerts of some of my music for jazz orchestra in both Shanghai and Taipei. This is all still tentative as the logistics and funding are worked out, but I have a feeling it's going to be a "Go"...For those of you who are Godfearin' folk, please pray about this.

Most importantly, my family is healthy, content, and works to maintain a grateful spirit (some days are easier than others.) Like many other folks trying to make their way in this ever more turbulent world of ours, we try to stay focused on Who is really in charge. Keep the Faith!

James 1:17

© Eric Richards 2012