Just when this momma thought she could not be more proud…. the world premier of Joey Kaz’s composition, “Fall of the House of Usher” took place last weekend. Jeff and I were honored to be part of the Lexington, MA audience who were first to hear this amazing piece performed by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, who commissioned Joey to write it as a result of being one of two winners of their 2011 North American Student Composer Competition.
As written in the program: “the piece is based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story of the same name. This programmatic piece seeks to explore and interpret the mysterious and disturbing world Poe creates in his story… The piece can be divided into three sections: a horse ride to the House of Usher: the revelation of the “death” of Madeline: and the destruction of the House of Usher.”
It goes on to say: “Joseph R. Kaz is a young composer currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition at Ithaca College, studying under Dr. Jorge Grossman, Dr. Sally Lamb, and Dr. Dana Wilson. With performances by ensembles such as the Long Bay Symphony, the University of Tennessee at Martin Miramba choir, University of Memphis Miramba Choir, Ithaca College Wind Dectet, Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Winds, and the Ithaca College Light Opera, Kaz’s music covers many genres.”
“In addition to the Metropolitan Wind Symphony award, Kaz has won several other prizes including 2012, and 2013 Jack Downey Composition Prize and the 2010 Texas Orchestra Directors Association Composition Contest.”
Not only impressed by his hard work and God-given talent, this momma was also blown away by Joey’s composure and confidence when asked some pretty tough questions during the Q&A session prior to the concert.
The most rewarding part of these events, for me, is to see how Joey’s pieces are received by those who hear them, and by those who perform them. It was wonderful watching not only the members of the audience approach Joey with congratulations and accolades, but many of the people in the orchestra playing the piece told Joey afterward that it was an honor to be involved in it’s world premiere.
I am so very grateful to God for giving Joey this talent, and to Joey’s many teachers and mentors who have given him opportunities to build his body of work, and confidence to continue to explore this passion. Next on Joey’s horizon? Graduation from Ithaca. Then grad school. He’s looking at a few schools from Indiana to Florida, from Kentucky to Washington, DC, and even one in Boston. I’m thinking a warmer climate might be in order after 4 long winters in Ithaca, NY!…… but we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, by the way, who remembers this “Joey to the World” Christmas card picture from 21 years ago????? HA! Just couldn’t resist…….