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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Composer

The Brass Junkies 81: Matthew Murchison

Andrew Hitz

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Matthew Murchison, excuse me, DOCTOR Matthew Murchison, is one of the most creative people playing the euphonium professionally today. He is an incredible euphonium and tuba player, a composer, arranger, deep thinker, knucklehead and a dear friend of mine. Oh man did we laugh during this one...

From the show notes:

TBJ81: Matthew Murchison, Sexiest Euphonium Player in West Virginia on playing, writing and charting your own course in music

Composer, tuba and euphonium soloist and all-around fellow knucklehead Matthew Murchison joins Andrew & Lance to discuss his bands Mainspring and the Matthew Murchison Mutiny, studies with Brian Bowman and being yourself as an artist.

In this fun and lively conversation, we cover:

  • Being the Sexiest Euphonium Player in West Virginia
  • That he is, in fact, a Doctor
  • Teaching at Marshall University
  • Former Solo Euphonium with River City Brass
  • Workin’ on (p)stuff
  • Breaking a spring
  • His method book for teaching euphonium players to play tuba
  • Studies with Brian Bowman in undergrad
  • His band Mainspring: (flute, euphonium and rhythm section)
  • Composing and arranging
  • No preconceived notion of what euphonium music should be to regular audiences which is a huge opportunity
  • Expanding his writing to include electronics
  • Chewy
  • Being yourself as an artist
  • Who is doing interesting stuff right now (Demondrae Thurmon, Ben Pierce, Fernando Deddos)
  • Whether competitions help or hurt young players
  • Asking for feedback after competitions

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 64: Composer Pete Meechan

Andrew Hitz

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Pete Meechan is one of today's foremost brass composers and I am lucky enough to call him a dear friend. His pieces have been performed by soloists and ensembles around the world including by the President's Own Marine Band. He is a top-notch knucklehead and it was great to have him on the show!

From the show notes:

Pete Meechan, composer of “Song of Hope”, joins Andrew & Lance to talk about, wait for it, composing! Pete explains how he went from working in the bar at the Royal Northern College of Music to writing pieces which have impacted countless listeners and has allowed him to work with and write for some of the best players and organizations in the world. We discuss music as a healing process, talk about the state of the industry and how CDs can still serve as proof of quality. We learn who he considers to be his favorite composers, get the story behind his incredibly popular “Song of Hope” and hear about the music he is working on today.

And how he strives to set “new standards in not sucking."

The Brass Junkies: Brian Balmages

Andrew Hitz

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One of the best composers you'll ever find, Brian Balmages, joined me and Lance for an interview on The Brass Junkies. I find it fascinating that Brian can write so well for beginning band, the finest professional ensembles in the world and everything in between.

He is also a great human.

I particularly found it interesting how he shared in the interview that he had a completely different process for writing each of the movements for the piece we commissioned him to write for Boston Brass. Great insights into how a piece like that goes down!


FJH Music

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Produced by Austin Boyer of FredBrass

Brian Balmages: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Here is a recording of one of my wife's favorite pieces for band, "Moscow, 1941" by Brian Balmages. She has done this piece frequently as a guest conductor and I love hearing it every single time.

Brian is an incredibly versatile composer who has written for everything from beginning band to top professional ensembles. During the 25th anniversary season of Boston Brass, we commissioned him to write us a piece and he wrote a wonderful three movement work that has since been performed by the likes of the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet and others.


The Entrepreneurial Musician: Jim Stephenson

Andrew Hitz

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Jim Stephenson is a full-time composer and arranger based out of Chicago. His story is a fascinating one.

Jim was a trumpet player in the Naples Philharmonic before he began to arrange and compose. His writing career eventually took off to the point that he quit his steady job with the orchestra to focus on it full-time. Who does that? People as driven as Jim, that's who.

His career path is reminder after reminder that you never quite know which direction you are about to head in in the music business.

Topics Include:

  • How his first ever arrangement was for a professional brass quintet and that he volunteered in spite of having no experience whatsoever
  • How he backed into becoming a composer by trying to write an intentionally bad piece to fulfill a very creative assignment and failed since it ended up being good
  • How excited he was initially about being a published composer
  • The advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing
  • The value of humility in a sustainable career