Tag: American Composers Forum

John Nuechterlein to Retire as President/CEO of American Composers Forum

John Nuechterlein has announced that he will retire as President/CEO of the American Composers Forum effective December 31, 2018. He shared the news recently with Forum board and staff, noting the decision to move on came slowly over the past few months. “The Forum is an extraordinary ecosystem of creative, imaginative people,” Nuechterlein says. “I feel privileged to have been part of that for twenty years, and I will miss it deeply.”

John Nuechterlein (photo by Nancy Hauck, courtesy American Composers Forum)

John Nuechterlein (photo by Nancy Hauck, courtesy American Composers Forum)

While John is retiring from his leadership role at ACF, he has no shortage of plans for the future. “I’ve listened to a lot of new music in my career at the expense of seeing new theater, watching new film, and exploring the work of visual artists,” he says. “I have a long list of places to visit for the first time, but I also look forward to discovering more of the rich tapestry of what is right here in Minnesota.”

John became President in 2003 after serving as its managing director for the previous five years. The breadth of programming has grown during his 15-year tenure through several new initiatives, most notably the NextNotes® High School Composition Awards and the national ACF CONNECT program. Especially meaningful to him was the recent launch of In Common, a collaborative artist residency program that gives communities an opportunity to explore their own diversity by sharing stories through the creation of new music. “The Forum has a long history of finding new ways to both support composers and integrate them meaningfully into our culture,” Nuechterlein explained. During his tenure the innova® Recordings label also experienced exponential growth–it’s now one of the most successful new music labels in the country with over 600 titles in its catalog. Its contribution to the contemporary music scene is internationally recognized.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the community of composers around the country”, says Board Chair Mary Ellen Childs, “I’d like to thank John for his excellent leadership over many years. He leaves ACF in superb shape, with a strong staff, secure financial footing, and an exciting new strategic plan on the horizon to guide the organization going forward. While we’re sad to see him go, we’re thrilled for him and all that is next in his life.”

The Forum’s board of directors will be conducting a national search to fill the position.

from the press release

A Week in Havana

A group of old American cars driving along a major thoroughfare with some old, monumental buildings in the background.

Along Havana’s Parque Central in 2015. (Photo by Amadeus Regucera.)

When we finally exited the José Martí International Airport shortly before noon, there were literally hundreds of Cubans lining the path we followed that angled through them, connecting the airport exit to the parking lot. It was as if we were rock stars—this first-time group of composers, musicians, and their supporters arriving from the United States to take part in the 28th annual Festival de Música Contemporánea de la Habana. Only the masses weren’t there for us—planes arrive in Cuba when they get there, and those awaiting loved ones crowd around the exit, likely for hours on end. During the hour or so we waited for our bus into Havana (Cuba runs on perpetual delays) I witnessed several of the most passionate and tearful reunions of my life, there at the airport exit and out in the parking lot, which was full of tailgaters. None were surprised by the waits they endured—they had counted on them, clearly—and they made the most of them.

The Festival de Música Contemporánea de la Habana took place this November, and for the first time in its history a delegation of musicians and composers from the United States was invited to participate. The American Composers Forum and Third Sound selected the composers, which included myself, Kati Agócs, Ingrid Arauco, Kai-Young Chan, Cindy Cox, Michael Harrison, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Jones, Amadeus Regucera, and Spencer Topel. Third Sound musicians—Patrick Castillo (Third Sound’s managing director), Romie de Guise-Langlois, Karen Kim, Sooyun Kim, Michael Nicolas, and Orion Weiss—came to perform, and ACF also assembled a 30-member strong group of U.S. observers/patrons, which included former and current ACF board members, UC Berkeley administrators and faculty, new music bloggers, a representative of the Mellon Foundation, NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas, and a two-man documentary crew. It was a huge endeavor.

Patrick Castillo, Jeremy Gill, Imogene Tondre (our guide), Christopher Jones, Cindy Cox, Michael Harrison, Spencer Topel, Ingrid Arauco, Amadeus Regucera, Jennifer Higdon, Kai-Young Chan, Romie de Guise-Langlois (clarinet), and Kati Agocs standing on a streetcorner in Havana, Cuba

The first-ever contingent of U.S. composers on the ground in Havana. Pictured are (left to right): Patrick Castillo, Jeremy Gill, Imogene Tondre (our guide), Christopher Jones, Cindy Cox, Michael Harrison, Spencer Topel, Ingrid Arauco, Amadeus Regucera, Jennifer Higdon, Kai-Young Chan, Romie de Guise-Langlois (clarinet), Kati Agocs. (Photo by Karen Kim.)

The composers and musicians stayed in casas particulares, rented rooms in residents’ flats (think Airbnb) which were mostly in the same seven-story condo in Vedado, a neighborhood that bordered Centro Habana where many of the festival concerts took place. Our casas were right across the street from the grand Hotel Nacional de Cuba, but the neighborhood itself was quite residential—an ideal vantage point for getting to know the people and the city. (Composer Amadeus Regucera and I formed a quick bond with the madre of our casa—a chain-smoking, middle-aged dear to whom we were both mi amor.) We were responsible for getting ourselves around town, by foot or by taxi—available everywhere, unregulated but safe and very convenient.

This was my first visit to Cuba (none of us, except Patrick, had been there before), and I prepared for the trip with daily Spanish practice for about three months prior. It helped immensely—few locals spoke much English, and the shop owners, taxi drivers, craftspeople, and artists—eager to sell their wares—were more than willing to engage my extremely rudimentary Spanish. I also read two (happily) complementary books about Cuban music: Alejo Carpentier’s Music in Cuba, written in the early 1940s, and Ned Sublette’s Cuba and Its Music from 2004. Carpentier trained as a musician and composer but is one of the best-known Cuban novelists; his book is mostly concerned with the history of Cuban art music as developed from Western models during the 16th century through the 1930s. Sublette’s interests lay with popular music, and he tries a bit too hard to provide the political and social context for the music that he clearly loves. Though I found his book practically unreadable—it seemed supersaturated with pointless facts and anecdotes—I appreciated it much more after spending a week in Cuba: its haphazard arrangement mirrors the country as I experienced it.

Cuba is a country of contradictions, an island that feels continental. (It is roughly the same size, in land and population, as Pennsylvania.) And Havana, where we spent the majority of our time, is a magnificent, European conception that is literally crumbling underfoot, a tropical paradise choking on the acrid smoke spewing from its vintage 1950s American cars. A walk of a few blocks in Centro Habana or Habana Vieja can take you through an astoundingly ornate Spanish-style courtyard (well-maintained, though its fountain is usually dry), past a string of partially collapsed, still inhabited homes, to the doors of an air-conditioned and tourist-themed bar. On the day of our concert, I walked the Malecón (the highway that runs along the northern edge of Havana, the splashing of the Atlantic on the rocks below often reaching the street itself) for about an hour, from my casa in Vedado to the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis. Interspersed among the typical buildings, grandly executed but literally dissolving in the sea air, were sparkling new modern renovations—hotels and cafes filled with tourists tapping away on their laptops—at least three of them, that day, policed by machine-gun-wielding, uniformed guards.

Havana was bewildering, but certainly not without its charms: one striking and wonderfully refreshing aspect of life in Havana is its racial integration. At every level of society I saw as many dark-skinned authority figures (police, teachers, leaders of dance troupes) as light-skinned. It is true that the batá and rumba musicians we saw were more likely black and mulatto, and that the young women that constituted the Camerata Romeu and performed Western-derived art music were mostly white and mestizo, but this felt like a natural expression of their various heritages. The audiences for both were mixed, and the art forms that drew more equally on a mixing of these heritages, as with the Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, were comparably mixed in terms of their personnel. Mixed-race groups of friends and couples—young and old—were the norm in restaurants and on the streets. The racial tension and segregation that persist in the United States, even in our most integrated cities, was as far as I could tell totally absent in Havana, despite our shared history of slavery (which endured a generation longer in Cuba than in the States) and post-slavery discrimination.

The Festival de la Habana included daily colloquia (mornings) and usually two concerts per day (at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.). Events were spread throughout the city, making it tough to get from one concert to the next on time. Most of the concerts featured Cuban musicians and were heavily populated with music by Cuban composers, but there were visiting performers from Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Korea, Italy, Spain, and the United States performing music by composers from their home countries as well as from Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Poland, Taiwan, Turkey, and Venezuela. Juggling events organized by ACF, which for the patrons included only two festival concerts—one of Cuban composers by Cuban musicians and Third Sound, and ours—and the festival itself was tricky, as most of us wanted to see and experience as much of Havana as possible. Furthermore, our arriving after the festival began and leaving before it ended (unexpectedly—more on that below) precluded our attending the grandest concerts—one by the Orquesta Sinfónico Nacional de Cuba before we arrived, and two featuring musicians from Korea and the most internationally diverse program after we had left.

The concerts I managed to attend revealed an extremely high level of musical proficiency on the parts of younger Cuban players, in particular. Nearly all of the young composers performed their own works, solo or in groups, and while the music tended to be somewhat old-fashioned (think slightly spicier Albéniz, with all the requisite virtuosity, lots of rhythmic ostinati, some polytonality, mixed in with the wholesome counterpoint of later Hindemith), the performances were often very fine, particularly when one considered the state of the instruments the players were relegated to. (For our concert, we used the finest piano in the country that had only a partially-functioning sostenuto pedal, and the local Camerata Romeu—a wonderful, all-female string orchestra that performs full concerts memorized—was one cellist short for a concert because her bridge broke and there was no replacement.) One can imagine the state of the pads on flutes, the age of the reeds on clarinets—but the musicians played with effortless grace, and it was abundantly clear to me that they had acquired their technique through their ears and not their eyes (unlike what has become depressingly common with young musicians in the States). Even less developed players in Cuba consistently created a clear musical line, and I rarely heard rhythmic awkwardness or, even more astonishing given the instruments, pitch problems. They were listening, and it was wonderful.

The Cuban composers that impressed me the most were Wilma Alba Cal and Juan Piñera. Piñera is one of Cuba’s senior composers and was well represented at the festival: his music featured interesting, clear ideas (more imaginative than his colleagues). I only heard one work by Alba Cal, but it was lovely, unaffected, beautifully paced and refreshingly simple without being simplistic. She looked relatively young, so we can hope to hear much more from her. (Third Sound will present works by Cal and Piñera at St. Bart’s in NYC on January 12, 2016, along with several of the U.S. composers’ works.) Of the international crowd I was most impressed by Claudio Ambrosini’s Prelude à l’apres-midi d’un fauve from 1994 for flute (doubling alto), violin, and piano. I couldn’t hear how it related to its titular companion (or imagine what his title suggested—isn’t Debussy’s faune already a fauve?) but it was one of the more interesting pieces that I heard, with a compelling narrative structure that surprised yet satisfied.

Overall, I was somewhat bemused by the music of the Cuban composers I heard. The anachronistic aura I perceived applied to most of the senior composers as well as the younger: it sounded as if the most recent music they had internalized was Milhaud’s (there was a penchant among the young for his crunchy but harmless bitonality, and among the young and old for his overt exoticism). One program on the festival listed a performance of Bartók’s Contrasts (written in 1938 at the behest of clarinet superstar Benny Goodman) as a Cuban premiere. If this is true, there must be many, many composers from the previous century as well as our own that Cuban composers have yet to hear.

Interestingly, I experienced a bit of a time warp with the popular music I heard in Cuba, as well. American pop was blessedly scarce during our trip, but when it did turn up, it was mostly from a generation or two prior (I went to sleep one night with “Material Girl” floating up to my fifth-floor casa from the streets below, and awoke the next morning to Stevie Wonder’s clarion call), and at least one jazz combo I heard was the spitting sonic image of the Spyro Gyra my father listened to in the late 1980s. (This latter was clearly aimed at tourists—the hosting bar’s cover charge was $10, a princely sum even considering the two mojitos it included). The most interesting popular music I heard in Cuba was by an Afro-Cuban band comprising a tres (a three-course guitar with the outer courses tuned in octaves, the inner in unisons), guitar, stand-up bass, congas, guiro, and maracas (which Alejo Carpentier claimed was the only pre-Columbian instrument still in use in Cuba). Fronted by two and sometimes three singers (who doubled on percussion), the group was young, dynamic and featured to my ears the most interesting mix of styles. They performed in a simple bar crammed with locals (two blocks from where we were staying) and didn’t sound “dated” in the slightest.

*
It was a fascinating trip, and I can only imagine how complicated it must have been to organize. (Kudos to ACF and Patrick Castillo for that.) The only problems we encountered stemmed from the very real challenge of acquiring good and current information. Cuba is still very much a closed society: none of us had reliable internet access during the trip, and the few that had working cell phones had acquired them in advance in Canada. Normally, this was fine—we adopted an older social model, meeting at previously determined locations and times around the city—but not always: when Havana Air bumped seven of the ten composers to an earlier flight out of Cuba (without informing anyone), it took us the better part of the week to figure out if our tickets, which we only received at the airport in Miami, contained a printing or a scheduling error. Only the day before our eventual departure did we learn that we would, in fact, be leaving a day earlier than planned.

This was an inconvenience for us, but certainly nothing compared to what the Cuban people experience on a daily basis. Couple a regular lack of information with the economic hardship still rampant in the country (I was told that a doctor on average earns $40 per month, equivalent to the composers’ and musicians’ per diem granted by ACF), and a bleak picture emerges. State-sponsored professional musicians typically earn $20–30 per month, and are not permitted to take extra gigs despite the ample free time that their roughly 9 a.m.–2 p.m. average daily rehearsal routine allows. Not surprisingly, a black market economy flourishes in Havana, as do semi-legal workarounds: private restaurants, for example, can exist only if they are located in people’s homes; those who are able to do so buy up consecutive flats to make reasonably-sized spaces to accommodate larger parties. (We visited quite a few.)

An old green car in front of the ruined facade of a building. (It is clear that there is no longer a room and the glass windows are all missing.)

A typical sight in Havana. An old American car in front of a partially-collapsed building. (Photo by Amadeus Regucera.)

To those of us on this trip, and for the American-born guides that showed us around, Havana was a enchanting place, but it’s tempting to see only the good when one has access to the best restaurants and hotels and can earn two years of an average Cuban’s salary in a week by showing tourists the town. We were able to bring many gifts for the Cubans we met (Music Espresso in Boston donated a stack of manuscript books that I passed on to an elementary school music theory teacher, the mother of our guide’s Cuban boyfriend, and many others came similarly laden), but these only go so far. One hopes that however U.S.-Cuban relations develop, the quality of life for the Cuban people—friendly, welcoming, tremendously hard-working—is our and their government’s first priority.

After returning to Miami, en route to our hotel, three of us early-returning composers shared a cab. The driver noticed a box of mini Cohibas I was carrying and started talking: he had fled the island 24 years prior, escaping by raft on his fourth attempt over about a decade. Back then, goods beyond rations were only sold in U.S. dollars, and it was illegal for Cubans to carry U.S. currency. Women would sell sex to tourists and have their johns pay by shopping for them at restricted stores. It went without saying, but one of us asked if he was better off in the States. “100%” he said. “There was no freedom there. No life.” He has never been back.

Fernando and others stand around a well.

Fernando and his well. (Photo by Jeremy Gill.)

That was a generation ago, and one hopes that a potential future Cuba is instead revealed in the person of Fernando, the owner and proprietor of a small, organic farm we visited in Artemisa (our only trip outside of Havana). After earning a Ph.D. in agricultural science (which he said prepared him “theoretically” for the work he now does “practically”), he began touring the world, advocating for small, sustainable farms in developing countries, while maintaining his own farm, staffed by six employees that he pays twice the average national salary. The thatched roof of the stone barn he built by hand sports solar panels, and the methane that he harvests from his cows’ dung is piped into the home he and his wife restored, providing cooking gas. He sells to Havana restaurants, and will soon institute a farm box program for local residents. Several years in, he is earning a profit and is slowly, steadily expanding. He showed us the well that he and his first two employees dug by hand (14 meters down), and called it a “metaphor” for how hard they were willing to work for the betterment of their beautiful and confounding country.

Rows of jars with seeds of various vegetables, all labelled.

Starters at Fernandoʼs farm. (Photo by Jeremy Gill.)

2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest Winners Announced

Photos of Nina C. Young, Alex Temple, and William Gardiner

The 2015 ACF Winners (pictured left to right): Nina C. Young (photo by David Adamcyk), Alex Temple (photo by Marc Perlish), and William Gardiner (photo by Jiyeon Kim). Photos courtesy DotDotDotMusic.

In partnership with the Los Angeles-based new music ensemble wild Up, the American Composers Forum has announced the three winners of the 2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest, their fourth thus far. Student composers William Gardiner (Yale University), Alex Temple (Northwestern University), and Nina C. Young (Columbia University) have each received a cash prize of $2,500 and are putting the finishing touches on eight- to ten-minute pieces for wild Up which will be performed at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) on September 11, 2015. American Composers Forum will also host two open rehearsals with wild Up and the winners on September 10 at LA City Colleges’ Clausen Recital Hall. The three composers were chosen by the members of the ensemble from a pool of 450 applicants.

“The Forum is thrilled to connect these talented composers with the extraordinary musicians of wild Up,” said ACF President and CEO John Nuechterlein. “Similar to our previous collaborations with eighth blackbird, JACK Quartet, and So Percussion, the opportunity for composers is invaluable to their work as young professionals, and the discovery process is equally exhilarating for the performers. We’re also excited to showcase this program at REDCAT for the large and diverse community of composers and performers in Los Angeles.”

“We are so thrilled to be working with Alex Temple, Nina C. Young, and William Gardiner, three young composers with exceptional talent and crystal-clear voices,” added Chris Roundtree, artistic director and conductor of wild Up. “We found their pieces through a blind selection process in which six members of the band voted in each of a half dozen rounds of vetting. What the American Composers Forum has done in bringing us all together is incredible.”

The objective of the annual competition is to encourage creativity by student composers who are currently enrolled in graduate and undergraduate institutions in the United States. In addition to the three winners, the following composers received honorable mentions:

Josh Archibald-Seiffer (University of Washington)
Vincent Calianno (New York University)
Andrew Greenwald (Stanford University)
Tonia Ko (Cornell University)
Shih-Wei Lo (University of Washington)
Alyssa Weinberg (Curtis Institute of Music)
Katherine Young (Northwestern University)

The competition began during the 2010-11 season as the Finale National Composition Contest, partnering with the group eighth blackbird. ACF has since produced two more competitions, in tandem with the JACK Quartet (2011-12 season) and So Percussion’s Summer Institute (2013-14 season).

(—from the press release)

A Lot To Sing About

Mary Tyler Moore

Love was definitely all around for composers and new music at the 2012 Chorus America Conference in Minneapolis last week. And thanks to the American Composers Forum’s concurrent ChoralConnections convening, we all got a sense that “we’re gonna make it after all.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

I spent most of last week in Minneapolis for two concurrent conferences. The first was the annual meeting of Chorus America, a service organization which represents professional, volunteer, children/youth, and symphonic choruses throughout North America. The second was ChoralConnections (no space), a conference organized by the American Composers Forum that was designed to allow composers to interface with one another as well as with the attendees of Chorus America, especially choral conductors. All in all, some 95 composers from 30 U.S. states as well as several Canadian provinces showed up for three intensive days of panel discussions, workshops, concerts, and various meet-and-greets. Two of the days even began with “composer-conductor” speed dating sessions.


(Thanks to Claire Tiller at ACF for the video footage.)
I’ve long been a fan of Chorus America’s annual conference. Two years ago, I had to juggle attending it and the League of American Orchestras conference, each gathering taking place in a hotel on opposing sides of Atlanta. Readers of these pages may recall that I much preferred my time at Chorus America, mostly because I felt that the choral community seemed much more engaged with new music throughout the conference. Directors of choruses are frequently composers themselves, and composers and new music—even when not front and center—has played a role in about every session of this conference I had ever attended. But ACF’s construction of an entire composer track in tandem with this year’s gathering kicked it up more than a notch. (This whole thing would not have been possible without the tireless dedication of ACF’s President and CEO John Nuechterlein, VP of Programs Craig Carnahan who oversaw the whole thing and moderated many of the talks, and Program Manager Claire Tiller who made sure all the composers knew where they were going. Chorus America’s team, in particular President and CEO Ann Meier Baker and Catherine Davies, the organization’s director of operations and membership services, also deserve a special shout out here.)

The opening concert, rather than featuring some new music, was completely devoted to new music almost exclusively by Minnesota-based composers, most of whom are alive and were present to hear the audience cheer after listening to their music. A consortium of youth choirs based throughout the state was led by Francisco J. Nuñez, artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, in performances of his own music and a couple of other works. Then, in turn, eight professional Minnesota choruses took the stage to perform local repertoire. At the end, they all joined forces, a total of 500 voices, to premiere a new work by local hero Stephen Paulus.

500 Voices

The little camera on my Blackberry couldn’t quite capture all 500 singers on stage joined by composer Stephen Paulus after they gave the premiere performance of a new work by him, but you get the idea.

The following evening, Philip Brunelle, who was the host and ringleader of this year’s Chorus America conference, led his extraordinary group VocalEssence in a program of, once again, all new music including a world premiere by Paul Rudoi and a rare performance of Dominic Argento’s Walden Pond, a setting of Thoreau for chorus with three cellos and harp. Argento came up on stage after the performance and was fêted like a movie star. The performance of Xtoles, a short Mayan-based work by Mexican composer Jorge Cózatl, was enhanced by all conference attendees receiving complimentary copies of the score in their tote bags. The highlight for me, however, was Carol Barnett’s The World Beloved which, to the best of my knowledge, is the first-ever setting of a mass for chorus and bluegrass band. The score was miraculously faithful to both choral and bluegrass traditions and did not come across at all as gimmicky. I had heard and loved the recording of this 2007 composition soon after it was released, and this is now the second time I’ve heard it live. Each time I’m still completely enthralled.

Warland Reading

Connie Moon, Kala Pierson, Dale Trumbore, and Ben Houge take a collective bow at the end of Dale Warland’s extraordinary reading session which featured music by each of them.

But the most exciting event of the entire week, at least for me, occurred on the last day—a reading session and master class workshop of four new choral works led by Dale Warland. Warland is officially retired and the venerable Dale Warland Singers, long champions of new music, have since disbanded, so Warland led a pick up group. But you’d never know it. And as they were reading through each piece, you’d also never know that this was a reading session and not a polished concert performance, although each of the four pieces—works by Kala Pierson, Connie Moon, Dale Trumbore, Ben Houge—received two complete run-throughs and the second was always more engaging than the first. But this is because the second time around, the performance incorporated small changes in the scores that grew out of sage comments by Warland, singers in the chorus, and the army of composers in the room. While I was thrilled to see that three of the four composers were women, I was perhaps even more thrilled that it was not particularly an issue. No one brought it up; it was completely natural, as was the synchronicity between composers and interpreters throughout the week. It really showed how valuable the experience of performing and listening to music by a composer in the same room as you can be, despite the comments researcher and management consultant Alan Brown made during his plenary talk at the conference earlier in the week.

Brown spoke to how arts organizations need to do a better job integrating participatory culture into their programming. He explained how some major philanthropists, like the Irvine Foundation in California, will now only fund organizations which create opportunities for active participation rather than the passive receiving of artistic work. I would argue that listening to music, reading a book, looking at a painting, etc. are hardly passive experiences, and as we attempt to engage audiences by devaluing a core way in which the arts have traditionally been experienced, we run the risk of destroying what is perhaps the most effective metaphor for being a citizen in a democracy. Without learning the ability to listen to others, we revert to a narcissistic society in which people hear only what they want to hear and are incapable of having empathy for a diverse array of ideas and opinions. Wait a minute, we’re already on our way there. I guess that’s why I’ll take the composers over the consultants every time. But thankfully Alan Brown’s address to the delegates of Chorus America formed only a small part of my experience in Minneapolis, although it was particularly jarring since it immediately followed the formal presentation of the 2012 Chorus America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming to the San Francisco Choral Artists, the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble, and the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir–groups which make vital connections with audiences through their presentation of new music. Of course, witnessing almost everyone’s appreciation for new music throughout the entire week was extremely gratifying.

Nevertheless it’s nice to be back home, but I won’t be here for long. On Wednesday I’m off to Greece for the annual meeting of the International Association of Music Information Centres. So all the 6 a.m. composer productivity I wrote about so glowingly last week has had to remain on hiatus since then, alas, and must remain so until I return late in the evening on June 26.