Much time has passed,
and there is much to tell.
has begun a new journey…
Since the summer of last year, events have been set into motion towards my ultimate goal: that the Far Travelers opera premiere, in full production, at a prominent opera house. The destination still appears very far away, as a flickering light on the horizon, but to know that it exists is heartening.
Last August, after completing the 1st full draft of the opera, both libretti and music, I once again hired the wondrous Andrés Soto to work his magic for the 2nd draft orchestrations and arrangements. It’s always a fruitful and symbiotic relationship working together: I give him the freedom he needs, and he vitalizes the vision. Just as leaven makes dough ferment and rise, so I feel Andrés elevates and enlivens my projects.
It was around this time that an opportunity came into scope: a composer-in-residency offered through the Guild Hall of East Hampton, which is the major main performing arts venue in East Hampton. A friend recommended that I apply for the residency, called the JDT Lab, and I did, but they had already laid out their roster. I felt disappointed, because in my eyes, we could’ve prepared some arias in time for a late-October concert.
How happy it can be to be wrong! For we must allow opportunities to pass us by that were not meant for us, at least not in their proper time. If the concert has taken place last autumn, it would have not have been fulfilling, for we were not ready. Andrés needed to finish a major film score, and I needed to invest myself on an off-broadway theatrical production, so we couldn’t have given the work its proper care. By the way, the production was a new staging of Macbeth, and you can hear snapshots of my theatrical score here.
But the most elemental shift in my life was the decision to move back to California after living in NYC for almost 9 years. It was a decision my wife and I had discussed, pondered, and prayed about for some time, so in 2017 one of the motivating factors for completing the opera was for my mental state, to have closure so that I could prepare for the move.
What I didn’t realize was that, following the completion of the 1st full opera draft, I would have a nervous breakdown. And I don’t type “nervous breakdown” for nothing, for it was the first (and hopefully last) time that I suffered such an episode. I have always been freaked out by infinity, by eternity in heaven and such, but I finally gave full energy to these nasty, anxious thoughts, and I won’t mince words: it was hell on earth, an utter nightmare. I was beset from waking until sleeping by fear and worry, and nothing seemed to help (my poor wife was so good to me, as I wasn’t easy to live with). Basically, from August until November, I was not myself, and the anxiety became so severe that my body started to shut down: no appetite, shivers, constant stiffness…I was caught in a mental vice grip. So I got on prescription meds, something I hadn’t done for well over a decade, but the side-effects were comparably awful, so I went holistic. But still, the fear was a greater foe than that. It was indeed a spiritual oppression, as I felt and thought things that I would never have entertained before. This thing – it was trying to Take. Me. Down.
Healing isn’t always spectacular, and I don’t have an AHA! moment, but I know for certain that God was indeed bringing freedom and deliverance to this poor, selfish man, (however slowly I realized it) because that’s what this was – utter self-absorption. Not invited, of course, as it ruined me for a time, but the fact was that I could not look away from my self, from my thoughts, into the face of my Father, into that wide place He called me to frolic in…until His love broke through and that warm, heavenly light dawned once again.
It’s the edge of February, and I can honestly say that I have entered into that healing. I’m not fully well, but my life is once again hope-filled and free. But while all of that inner baggage was taking place, there was also the outward change to process: driving from New York to Los Angeles at the end of last November (epic U-haul trip!), settling into our new apartment, getting a car, getting work, and…getting a CHRISTMAS PUPPY!
Olive at 5 Weeks
Take about therapy..
So…lots and lots of change, both ground-level and subterranean. And that was 2017. Now we’re a month into 2018, a year promising new vistas and breakthroughs…starting with:
I was notified that, for the next season of the JDT Lab at the Guild Hall, I will be honored as one of their composers-in-residence!
The concert, approaching 1-hour of music from Far Travelers (with paired-down ensemble), will be taking place on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30pm and you can RSVP HERE. We are just beginning to cast personnel and are anticipating a wonderful night of selected music. It will be filmed professionally and used as a pitch-tool for a certain major Scandinavian opera company by the end of 2018 (or companies, but I’m thinking of one in particular).
Until then, I’m here in Los Angeles, considering what new projects to begin while exploring this city that is so new to me after 9 years away. Lindy and I are building new friendships, sustaining old ones, and are excited to ride these winds of change. But it’s also been incredibly difficult, with many thoughts of returning to NYC. I won’t go into all of that, because we are still very heartsick. We so dearly miss all of our friends (and family, for my brother Eric lives there) back east…but we will reunite in three short months, God-willing (puppy in tow!).
Lastly, something to celebrate right now. The feature film that Eric and I produced, Apocalypsis, secured wide distribution through Indican Pictures and will be released this March! Catch the trailer here (trailer music not mine, the distributor put this pulpy, genre-heavy piece together). I’m proud of my score for the film because it took me into new realms (eastern instruments, a return to synths), so I hope you enjoy it too.
On the note of film scores, I’ve overhauled my website to include selections from my feature film scores!
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Thanks for reading, and may your 2018 be filled with joy and hope!