Cinematic Cover Song? Check.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an opportunity to compose a “cinematic” sounding cover song.

Mind you, I don’t normally do covers of pop songs.

But, there was this one song, which I remember haunting me as I grew up. “Endessly”, by Muse.  I always had wanted a more melodic, and surreal version of it.

So I made it.

2 Piano Cues

I recorded and produced these two lovely piano pieces.  They are among my favorite songs I played as a child.

The part I’m most proud of, is that this isn’t a simple recording of a live performance. I didn’t mic my piano. Rather, I performed the pieces on my midi keyboard, then edited the files and spread them across 3 different sample piano tracks. Then I put a different eq and reverb on each track, to make various frequencies shine. Then I mixed them all together, and slipped-in a couple of finishing plug-ins. I know that’s a lot of jargon, but you get the drift.

It’s incredible what musical training and software capabilities can now create together. I’ve been playing the piano for 26 years, of which 15 were dedicated to intense lessons and competitions. And I can’t tell the difference between a live recording and the mp3s below.

Deborah Voigt Internation Voice Competition

This past weekend I was invited to Florida, to sing in the Deborah Voigt International Voice Competition. From a pool of hundreds of applicants, only 33 were invited to participate in the live rounds.

Singers from around the globe gathered at Vero Beach Opera, where we went through a challenging performance schedule, eventually cutting it down to the final 8 contestants. It’s my huge honor to say that I made it until the very end, and was rewarded with the Louis Lawson Award.

During the competition, I sang through a selection of repertoire in French, Italian, and Russian, including arias from La Traviata (Verdi), Roméo et Juliette (Gounod), and Don Giovanni (Mozart).

Sending out a huge thanks to Vero Beach Opera for hosting the competition, and to my wonderful hosts- who not only were supportive, but celebrated with me the next day by paddle boarding on wild rivers nearby.

Magniibots: Global Game Jam 2016

My good friend and founder of Drop Pod Games, Samuel Hum, sent me a note in January asking if I’d like to join his team for Global Game Jam. Obviously, I said yes. (This is the same guy that I’ve loved working with on projects like Roshamboroo and Saplings)

The results: a fun and intriguing game called Magniibots, which was so good, we’re targeting a Steam release for later this year.

I didn’t get to actually be on site with the team, but I did jam with them from my home studio. Posting a snippet of the audio below:

SUCCESSOR: Final Fantasy VIII Remixed

Whelp. You can now find my music on iTunes. And Loudr. :-)

Last year, I joined a group of video game musicians, called the Materia Collective. Together, we released a massive six-disc collection of covers from Final Fantasy VIII. I worked on three of these, and you can find all of them on iTunes.

The one I personally worked hardest on is an all-vocal cover of Under Her Control (renamed, smartly, Under Her Vocal Control). I arranged, recorded, and produced this all in my home studio. ALSO, I made my very first music video, so you can watch it on YouTube:

I also created a new age, all-vocal cover of Blue Sky, which really challenged my production skills and pushed my to consider how ELSE the voice could reach new heights.

The last song I worked on was in collaboration with John Robert Matz, an extremely talented composer, musician, and voice-over artist based in Chicago. We had a ridiculously fun time reworking the Galbadian National Anthem to include lyrics and a full choir singing. He did all of the production (which is 90% of the work!), and I’m very grateful for his expertise. It’s TERRIBLY funny – so don’t miss Galbadia, My Home.

LA OPERA: Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist

I am now in the MOST enviable position for all young singers in the world.

At LA Opera, Placido Domingo himself selects a small number of young singers, and he and the staff mentor and coach them for a period of 1-3 years. To have been selected for this program is not only a huge honor, but also the greatest opportunity yet of my operatic career.

Over the next years, I’ll be learning from the living legends of opera, and occasionally (eek!) even performing with them.  In addition to regular repertoire, I’ll also be focusing on the Russian repertoire and language (a particular passion of mine).

Also- this means I get to LIVE in Los Angeles, the capitol of the entertainment industry. I  look forward to understanding what makes LA Opera a thriving company, focused on both classical and modern opera today.

Photo from my first concert in December:

Photo by Alma Guzman
Photo by Alma Guzman

Hush-A-Bye: an all-vocal arrangement

I started writing this arrangement in the Cincinnati airport last July. Completing the arrangement, recording all of the vocal parts, editing them all, and learning a ton of new production tools… my site ip . 3 months later this is the result. And I’m hugely proud of it.

Note: most of this happened during Pearl Fisher rehearsals at Seattle Opera. This just goes to prove, that opera and composition and sound production CAN and DO work beautifully together.

Seattle Opera, finally!

Seattle Opera, Leila
Seattle Opera, in rehearsal as Léïla in The Pearl Fishers, by Bizet

Growing up in WA state, there is no higher musical goal than singing with Seattle Opera… … And I made my debut last Sunday.

Over the next weeks, my extended family and childhood mentors will all be coming to see my perform Léïla in The Pearl Fishers by Bizart (sung in French).

You can see from above, that the rehearsal process was an absolute joy. Seattle Opera treats their artists so well! Plus, we have a fantastic artistic team preparing the music with utmost attention to detail- but still being nice when they say “don’t sing flat here.” :-)

We also can’t help but look great in the production with costumes by fashion guru, Zandra Rhodes. (Mostly) She and I talk about the costumes in this sneak-peak below.

For more info and tickets, go to http://www.seattleopera.org.

Some recent compositions

I’m currently enjoying a peaceful retreat in the middle of Washington state. I’ve set a whole month to be near family and work on music – both composing and voice. Every day I prepare audition repertoire and practice Leila for Pearl Fishers at Seattle Opera this fall. And I also sit at a little desk looking over a pond with great blue herons and dwindling goldfish, and write music.  Here are three songs I completed within the past two weeks. domain names search australia Hope you enjoy!

“Requiem” – I always wanted to write my own version… : (this one has great vocals!)

 

“Affinity” –  This one feels like magic happened.

 

“Easy Optimist” – Because every day should start with a bounce.

Morning Star (Cincinnati Opera)

This was, without a doubt, my most fulfilling operatic experience to date.

Morning Star was composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, to the libretto of William Hoffman. I’ve known Ricky for 6 years, so when he asked me to create the role of Esther, I didn’t hesitate in responding yes. The show centers around an immigrant family in New York, and the horrific Triangle Factory Fire, which sparked the labor movement.

While the opera was incredible by itself, it was truly the hearts of my colleagues that made it such a special experience. Everyone arrived with an extraordinary willingness to share and be open to telling a true story. Even the first rehearsal brought tears to our eyes- the music is stunningly beautiful and often sad. The cast found such joy in working with each other, and that joy expanded to include the stage crew as well as our creative team. Every singer will tell you that Tech rehearsals are the worst, but this time was different- we were all happy to just get to hang out and help each other work towards greatness.

And greatness was achieved. When you have Ricky Ian Gordon composing,  it’s difficult to avoid greatness, but the Chicago Tribune also testified that Morning Star will be remembered (and hopefully performed again soon!). Here’s a link to the article:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/vonrhein/ct-cincinnati-morning-star-opera-review-20150702-column.html