Lorca/Presser Grant Commission

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2016 will kick off for me in Baltimore. I will have a new work for Soprano, Flute, and Harp be premiered at the 2016 New Music Gathering held at the Peabody Conservatory.

I was honored to be commissioned by harpist Jasmine Hogan as part of the 2015 presser award. I first had a work of mine performed by Jasmine as part of the World Harp Congress in Indiana. Jasmine was selected to perform in a workshop showcasing the semi-finalist (My piece was 3rd … I believe, don’t quote me on that however) works and how modern composers are writing for solo harp.


The new work will be performed Friday Jan. 8th. The full schedule of events, and performers can be found here. I should also mention the commission entailed setting a poem by Federico García Lorca. Each composer was asked to re-imagine  the poems that were originally featured in George Crumb’s Federico’s Little Songs for Children, for Harp, Flute and Voice.

Composing the music for: Cancion China en Europa / Pianist Retreats (pianist retreats)

2015 had been an very, very busy and hectic work year. I am certainly not complaining. However whenever I tried to find both time and inspiration to write the work; dead end. One thing really turned the corner for me. I took 3 days to leave New York City and meet Emily W Upham the founder of “pianist retreats”.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered !  Emily was a student, amongst others, of Nadia Boulanger (her full bio here Emily W Upham bio)

We would chat in the morning, then I spent 2 days with total uninterrupted time to compose on her grand piano. At the risk of posting a film slightly more interesting than watching paint dry; below is a video my time composing there.

I often record myself improvising, and then use the recordings to transcribe with pencil and paper the ideas I like. Everything else of course — deleted.

If you are a composer in NYC (or elsewhere) looking to create in a beautiful and creative environment undisturbed you couldn’t ask for a better place. (pianist retreats) An inspiring setting, and at the end of the day there was even fresh baked cookies !! I spent the evenings at a near by Bed and Breakfast, and they were amazing. Such nice people. Seriously…. this piece never would have seen life if I did not get out of the city and go see Emily.  5 Stars !!

I asked  Emily for a brief description to post:

“Come to work without distraction in quiet beautiful country house in the Hudson Valley. Separate studio with Steinway Grand piano. All musicians and combos of musicians welcome including composers and chamber groups. Audience for run-throughs provided. B and B next door.

Emily U. Contact: uplandvl@valstar.net pianistretreats


Below is a MIDI rendition of the work. Midi never comes nearly as close and expressive as the real players which is why I am so excited to hear the work played live.


Posted on December 19, 2015 in Music Composition

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About the Author

An award-winning composer, accomplished musician and sonic storyteller, Douglas Gibson resides in New York City, where he composes and gives music composition lessons locally and online worldwide.
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