• J. Aaron Stanley

Back To Composing After Epic Adventure

This blog post comes after an epic adventure (in Mexico and at sea and in Mexico again), and a subsequent return to the United States, where I've taken up the metaphorical pen again to compose after a several-year hiatus.

My adventure outside the U.S. didn't diminish my desire to be a composer in any way. I just didn't really feel the inspiration or motivation to compose during my time in Monterrey, Mexico—something I honestly find a little difficult to explain. But I do know those experiences will serve as a powerful inspiration going forward. I've got a long list of ideas for pieces I want to write.

I did, however, rediscover my love for the trumpet while in Mexico, and made a commitment to myself to stay active as a performer and never give it up again, no matter how successful I become as a composer. I need that physical connection to music performance and the personal connection to other musicians. Otherwise, the composer's life can be quite isolating.

All that being said, I am happy to announce the completion of four new pieces within the last few months, all of significant scope...

Metamorphosis: A Butterfly's Journey of Transformation. I originally wrote a draft of this piece while working as a showband musician for Princess Cruises in 2014. It was never performed, and lay dormant on my computer for a long time before meeting Dr. Cara Pollard, who graciously commissioned me to revive, revise, and adapt the piece for her Imbroglio Sextet. It was completed last summer (2018).

Chakras: A Musical Journey of Enlightenment. I started composing this piece back in 2011, before leaving Los Angeles for Mexico. I had only completed the introduction, and had struggled with the rest of it. It, too, lay dormant on my computer until last summer when I began working on the piece again, and found it much easier to work on than before. But in July, I broke my laptop's screen, and the expensive repair kept me from composing again until the middle of December when I could finally afford to get it fixed. I finished the piece in January (2019).

Celestial Orbits for Wind Ensemble. Chakras, which is full of musical palindromes, inspired me to create an entire piece that is one giant palindrome. I started working on it, too, last summer, but was forced to stop due to my broken laptop. I came back to it in December, and finished a draft in February (2019), much sooner than expected. I am currently editing a few details and polishing it into a finished work.

Heroes & Villains for Wind Ensemble. This piece has a long history, dating all the way back to 1999. You can read about it in the description of the piece. But I've had pending for a long time to revise this piece and incorporate a theme I wrote for a short film in 2011. Although this is not a new piece, it is a significant revision that I feel makes this piece one of the most important in my catalog. It may even be a potential hit in the wind band world, as it is a serious concert work that also happens to be loads of fun—for performers and listeners alike!

My hope is that now that I am in Texas, and once again active composing and promoting my work, that I will find enough financial support as a composer to dedicate myself full time to composing (while performing on the side, only in projects that interest me). I've got too many ideas and not enough time! Due to giving trumpet lessons all over DFW, and hustling as a performer, I'm often too busy (or too sleepy!) to sit down and compose. The holidays (plus an illness that kept me from getting out much) gave me time to get a lot done in December, January, and February.

If you are interested in commissioning a new piece for your ensemble, please contact me! I would love to speak with you.

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