Steven Mackey visits

February 1, 2008


Composer Steven Mackey was UCLA’s visiting composer yesterday. He gave a 2-hour talk about his music and life. He played a fantastic work for 4 electric guitars, 5 singers and large orchestra called “Dreamhouse.” He stopped between movements and answered questions from students and faculty with great style.

Later, Paul, Mitchell, Susan, David and I went out to Matteo’s (Frank Sinatra’s old favorite hangout, we got his booth and his chair btw…) for dinner and had much stimulating conversation, lots of connections. Lefko and Steve went down their memory lane; Susan and Steve compared stories about the Block lectures at Berkeley; Steven and I realized that we were both out of the closet rock n roll influenced composers (I would have to include Bob Aldridge, Michael Dougherty, and Christopher Rouse in that category, but I’m the least butch of the batch). Mitchell and Steven chatted about living in Berkeley. We all decided that UCLA music is a much for fun group than the Berkeley gang and toasted to it.

Before I drove him back to his hotel, we went to my home and I tried to sing him my 5 soloist with chorus finale of act 1. I crashed through it. He seemed to love the energy and drive in it. “That’s what I learned from Elliott Carter” was my response. We compared more notes finding more things in common, and I drove him home.

By the way, Steven was in town for performances of Sarah Kirkland Snider, his wife, also an extremely gifted composer.

[These composer sessions are classes held by UCLA Professor Paul Chihara who is the Chair of Composition. Unfortunately, these classes are not open to the public.]

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