his upcoming Saturday, June 23rd 2012, in Linz, Austria, Billy’s Adventures In Space, my five-moment tuba quartet piece with narrative, will receive its world premiere by the Desert Oasis Tuba Quartet.
ix or seven months ago, I was approached by euphoniumist extraordinaire Leanne Stamp to write an original work for her tuba quartet, the Desert Oasis Tuba Quartet. Like most composition projects in my life, I agreed, wrote a short concept down, hated it, became completely discouraged, and left it alone for a while. In the meantime, Leanne’s group, consisting of herself, Brad Bradley on second euphonium, Saxon Lewis on first tuba and Garrison Gillham on the low end (isn’t everyone in a tuba quartet kind of “low end”?), was invited shortly thereafter to perform at the upcoming [International Tuba Euphonium Conference] in Linz, Austria — a very prestigious honor reserved for only a very few highly skilled ensembles internationally. I regained my motivation to write, and after receiving my standard commission fee of $1.5 million in freshly laundered bills (cash-marked burlap bags, Hamburglar-style), I spent the next months writing the work.
s the work started coming to life, I decided this should be no ordinary tuba quartet piece. I had a concept in mind from the beginning — The piece, in five movements, would chronicle the extraterrestrial travels of Billy, a young boy chosen by the crazy Professor Zugzwang to pilot a fantastic flying machine and tour the far reaches of the universe. I needed help with an actual written story — a children’s story. I solicited the help of dear friend, musician, philosopher, and writer Abraham Pease-Byron. Within a week or two, he had constructed a literary masterpiece that rivaled Dr. Seuss in accessibility and creativity, mimicked the tone and nature of my music flawlessly, and served as a stand-alone narrative for future performances of the work. Shortly thereafter, I scoured the internet looking for the right artist to visually compliment this budding creation. After much search and after combing through the portfolios of MANY brilliant artists, I came across Swedish artist [Daniel Olsén] on [DeviantArt.Com]. After a relatively short time period, he had sketched, drafted, colored, & produced finalized versions of the score cover and accompanying art:
his past week, I collaborated with the Desert Oasis ensemble to make many revisions and formatting fixes. After some final edits and an extended stay at Kinko’s, the final score has been printed. The first available copies will be sold at the 2012 ITEC event after the premiere performance, and thereafter, will be made available through my online store. Know a tubist or euphoniumist who needs some cheering up this Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Slap them with a copy of Billy’s Adventures In Space and send their inner child soaring to the stars and beyond.
Side note: Abe and I may start a multimedia children’s book franchise. Stay tuned.