In the Composer Cues series, composers describe their creative process, offer teaching suggestions, and provide messages to performers. Use this interview as repertoire inspiration for future programs.
What inspires you as a composer?
I have always been a melody person. The melody is the first thing that grabs me when I listen to a piece of music, so I always try to compose music with melodies that are moving and memorable. I also get inspired by visual imagery which probably comes from my years of writing music for commercials. Show me a cool video, and I will immediately have musical ideas to go with it.
You are well-known for your choral music. What prompted you to write music for concert band?
I love composing vocal music, but in my career I have actually composed more instrumental music than vocal music. I have enjoyed composing for full orchestra, mostly in the genre of commercial and film music as well as trailer music. Composing music for concert band is a different kind of puzzle because the instrumentation poses a unique set of problems. The creative process of finding solutions is satisfying.
What are some performance tips you would recommend to teachers who are rehearsing this piece?
A performance of “Fanfare for a New Era” should, above all else, feel exciting! Even in the softer sections, the syncopated background textures that fit together like puzzle pieces should have a focused intensity that bubbles with energy. Additionally, all of the melodic phrases should be shaped expressively to bring out the emotion and let the music soar.
What memorable experiences did you have while writing or performing this piece?
Just as I finished a demo recording of “Fanfare for a New Era,” I got to play it for friends on a boat during a fireworks display. We listened to it on repeat, and it was everything I hoped it would be.
How can SmartMusic enhance the rehearsal process?
It is my goal to write music that students are inspired to play and enjoy performing. I love the SmartMusic interface, the interactivity, and the fun that it can bring to practice. If the music is fun to play and the practice is fun, that’s a great combination that will have students reaching for their instruments at home more often.
What sections or measures need the most attention?
Bars 1–7 really set the tone for this piece, and that section is reprised two more times with a few enhancements, so if the opening is strong then the middle repeat of that section and the ending will also be solid. Giving those bars the right energy and punch will really help propel the rest of the performance.
Should we expect more concert band pieces from Pinkzebra in the future?
Yes! I have two more that are finished and ready to go that I will release next spring. I am very excited about continuing to expand my portfolio of concert band music.