the Official Portrait
_________________________2017_______________________________________________April 23: I will be moving from my current apartment in Raleigh (I have been living at E. S. King Village, which is university housing for NCSU for grad students, families, and some faculty) where I have lived since 2001. My move date is Monday May 16, with a packing party Sunday May 14 in the afternoon. I am moving, as mentioned below in the post for August 13, 2016, to the little town of Cleveland, 136 road miles west of here. My new address will be 2480 Old US HWY 70, PO Box 266, Cleveland NC 27013.
So far, the cortisone shot in my shoulder has worked well, and I have been able to play my cheap Chinese violin, now rigged for 5 strings and played in the cello position. As a result I have ordered an Alien II 6 string violin made by Czech violin maker Tom Reiter, with frets and a little custom work. It should arrive a couple of weeks after my move to Cleveland. This is the only affordable 6 string violin I could find that promises to be of sufficient quality. My hope is that I will be able to get enough skill back to be able to perform and record the 6 string version of my 10 Sonatas for Solo Violin. So far I have arranged the first seven for 6 strings.
Our physics department, and specifically our department head Paul Huffman, was gracious enough to allow me a few minutes at the last faculty meeting of the semester to say my goodbyes. Along with my appreciations of the many kindnesses and wonderful friendships I have had with my colleagues over the last 16 years at NCSU, seven of which have been on the faculty as a part-time lecturer, I mentioned a little something about our budget crisis. I am losing my job because there is no way for the department to pay me; the entire College of Sciences is having a ten percent cut this year, and more to come in the future. Meanwhile, as I pointed out, our basketball coach makes $2.5 million a year (100 times my take-home pay); and may I add the Chancellor is getting a handsome raise. The school is certainly not serious about teaching and research. The real priority is winning games. People would rather be entertained than study. If we had more money to spend, it wouldn't go to us, since we are in competition with the likes of Duke, which spends $10 million a year on Coach K. If he taught students with the same efficiency that I do, he would teach 28,000 students. I suppose it is time for me to retire.
March 25: Just posted a new edition of an arrangement of J. S. Bach's Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 2 for 6 string violin. Pretty intense and virtuostic music, we'll see if they ever get played. I will have to try a cortisone injection in my right shoulder to see if that makes violin performance possible for me; that's probably my only shot, so to speak, at being able to physically tolerate moving my bow arm around enough to practice.
March 8: I've started a new attempt (that I do every decade) to play violin again, with new instruments and adaptive equipment. I got an extremely cheap Chinese electric violin that termed itself as a 6 string violin, with frets; but it basically simply crammed 6 strings onto a 4 string violin, and with other deficiencies, was unplayable as-is. After a couple of weeks of work I've changed it to a 5 string violin, but its electronics are not sufficient. I have 4 string and a 6 string Barbara pickup bridges of very high quality from many years ago, and will try the 4 string on this violin. I am hoping to figure out an economical way to use my 6 string bridge on a 6 string violin, but they tend to be quite expensive. Anyway, this all depends on how well my right shoulder holds up. I support much of the weight of my bowarm with a sling, shock cord, and overhead pulleys, but pain in the shoulder has stopped my playing in years past. We'll see.
As there is little literature for 6 string violin, and few performers of classical bent playing them, I have taken on the task of arranging my ten solo violin sonatas for 6 string violin. (I arranged the first three back in 2002 when I tried playing last time.) I have listed the first five of these arrangements on the 10 Sonatas web page, and hope to get the last five done in the next couple of months. Best thing is that this recent effort has broken my break in composition that has been in force since last May.
The end of my job as lecturer in physics at NCSU looms as the semester ends in mid-May. I am trying to not worry about my transition to living in rural western Rowan County (described below). My health is such that normal employment is really not practical, and so I am hoping that SSDI and SSI, with food stamps and Medicaid, will be enough to get by. The new Trump administration is not friendly to the aging, disabled, intellectuals, artists, and other "losers" like me. This too shall pass.
January 26: I'm delighted to announce that Bonnie Thron, cellist, and Carl Banner, pianist and leader of Washington Musica Viva, will perform Gayatri Sonata on Friday, March 31, 7:30 PM, at the Church of the Ascension in Silver Spring, MD. Note that this is the same weekend as the cherry blossom festival in Washington DC, as well as kite-flying at the Washington Memorial. I will be in attendance. Performances of my music outside Raleigh or Durham is very rare, so this is a welcome opportunity.
I have still not been able to write any new music since last May, and have been concentrating instead on establishing good health, physical and mental. 2016 was a record year for performances, with a good 2015 as well; but the calendar has dried up now, and I am struggling to find a place in various programs somewhere. With my COPD situation and arthritis, it is difficult to get the energy up to do this, especially as there is no financial support for my music. As I face retirement from my delightful physics job in May, that is all the more crucial a consideration.
While 2016 was great for making music, it was rough in the health department; my medical bills came to over $48,000, all covered by insurance. That is about twice my taxable income.
December 25: Had delightful Christmas celebrations with two families; the Pritchards on Dec. 24, and the Weisses on Christmas Day. Those of us living alone have to borrow families for the holidays! Many thanks.
November 9: Numb with shock. Time to adapt to the new reality.
September 29: I have posted YouTube videos of the Cello Concerto on its web page, from the Baldwin Auditorium premiere at Duke University September 18.
September 20: Just finished three concerts featuring my Cello Concerto in the chamber music version for cello and two pianos. These were with Bonnie Thron as the soloist, joined by David Heid and Deborah Lee Hollis on pianos. These were September 11 at ECU in Greenville, September 15 at ECU in Greensboro, and September 18 at Duke. I will post the recording and video of the Duke performance as soon as it is available. Here is the review of the Duke performance from CVNC.
August 25: Last week was a rough one! On Tuesday Aug. 16, the day before classes at NCSU started up, I started passing two kidney stones. After several agonizing hours in the emergency room at Rex Hospital, they sent me home to pass the stones on my own--go figure! I couldn't hold any water down, so it was unclear how I was going to get the water to help en route out. Early Wednesday morning I showed up at my urologist, who decided that surgery was necessary, and scheduled it for Thursday morning. Back to Rex Hospital, where I proceeded to catch pneumonia; however I did, fortunatly, pass the stones that following night, so no surgery necessary. Another day to check on the lung situation, and out on Friday night with legs and ankles ballooned with IV water. I've finished with the antibiotics today and am on the mend. Life with COPD and ankylosing spondylitis is complicated.
August 13: I was informed late last April that this coming school year might be my last, due to budget cuts in our NCSU physics department. It now looks even more likely that this is the case. As I have not worked long enough to earn sufficient Social Security, I will have to plan on going back on SSI after my paychecks stop. This is a very big challenge, as the SSI check is small, with severe restrictions on what you can own or earn. After a lot of scrambling around all summer looking for rent-subidized housing for elderly and disabled, and getting on quite a few very long waiting lists, I was facing the likelyhood that I would lose my job in May 2017 and not have a place to live.
I am most fortunate that an old friend living in the little town of Cleveland, NC, where I used to reside from 1988 to 1991, very graciously will let me live in his home. He is a highly intelligent, cultured, and interesting fellow, a retired engineer and bibliophile, who spends half his time in Cleveland and half in Charlotte. I will be able to afford this on SSI. That means moving 110 miles west, away from the urban life I've led for the last 16 years, and away from the musicians who have made it possible to bring my music to life. I expect that I will be on the road back here frequently, and will do my best to make new connections in my new environs. Cleveland is a very pleasant place to live, and 11 miles from Salisbury, which has all the medical facilities I'll need going forward. Also there is a good cultural scene in Salisbury, and also at Davidson College. This puts me about an hour drive from Winston-Salem, where I have not explored yet, and if I can stand the traffic, about the same distance to Charlotte. The environment is delightful in Rowan County and environs, with woods, rivers, hills, and wildlife, and is not far from the mountains.
July 1: It has been quite the medical adventure once again this summer. My eyes have been very dry for years, but this spring my tear ducts just decided to quit, for the most part, and I now do a lot of gel eyedrops. Also have had plugs put in the tear drains in the inner corners of my eyes, which helps a lot. Kudos to my opthamologist, Dr. Albert Munn.
More ominously, after many years of bronchitis that has come and gone and never really resolved, I've recently been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This is especially dangerous given the kind of arthritis I have which makes my ribs immobile, and which gives me cardiac complications. I will be focusing my activities on maintaining health and staying active, especially with regard to my teaching job at NCSU. Thanks to BCBS and Medicaid, I have all the insurance that I need for the considerable medical care required. (I know that millions of others are not so lucky.)
My best guess is that this was initiated by secondhand smoke while I was a guest of the state, from 1991 to 1996. (You may see my Autobillography for all the details.)
After completing Miniatures in May, with its new first movement ("Farewell Overture"), I have not been able to write new music, despite some efforts for a second violin concerto. My priorities right now have to be health and employment; music will have to wait in line, as resources and vitality allow. It would appear that for the near future at least, any new compositions will probably be chamber music that does not require the labor involved in larger forms, both in the score and part production and in getting performances and recordings. My energy now is very limited, and I have no income from music--which, at this point in my life, makes a very big difference.
May 29: Lloyd Sitkoff will broadcast Govinda Sonata for violin and piano today on KNTU, in Denton, Texas.
May 8: I've added Miniatures for piano and woodwind quintet to my collection of music pages; it is listed under "Music for Winds and Brass".
May 5: Pat Marriott will broadcast E Pluribus Unum for two horns and strings on WHQR Classical, 92.7, in Wilmington NC, on Monday May 9 at about 9:30 PM. You can listen via their internet stream.
March 31 and April 1: I have added the recording of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra performance of Birthday Symphony to its web page, and a video and recording of the premiere of E Pluribus Unum for two horns and strings to YouTube.
March 7: The Ciompi Quartet, joined by hornists Christ Caudill and Rachel Nicketopoulos (from the NC Symphony) and bassist Robbie Link, performed E Pluribus Unum on a Sights and Sounds concert to a sold-out audience at the NC Museum of Art, Sunday March 6. The pianist that was to be on this concert, Greg McCallum, died unexpectedly on Monday, February 8; the concert was dedicated to his memory. Here is the CVNC notice about the concert. (I will post the review when it is available.)
February 28: The Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jim Waddelow, performed Birthday Symphony twice; first on Friday, February 26 at the Meredith College Aria Concert, and then on Saturday February 27, at the Rising Stars concert. Both were in Jones Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh NC. The Aria Concert featured the winners of Meredith College's annual Aria Competition. The Rising Stars Concert had winners of the RSO's annual statewide concerto competition. Here is the glowing CVNC review of the Saturday concert by John Lambert.
The January 16 Durham Symphony performance of the last movement of the Birthday Symphony at the Sounds of Justice and Inclusion concert is now available on YouTube. There is also a video of the entire concert.
February 16: I have posted a new web page for my new Cello Concerto, composed for cellist Bonnie Thron. This includes the orchestral score, the score to the chamber version for cello and two pianos, and recordings of the first and third movements in the chamber version.
February 13: WCPE will broadcast Three Pieces for Violin and Piano tomorrow (Sunday, February 14) at 9 pm on their Wavelengths program. This is to honor the memory of Greg McCallum, who performed this work with violinist Eric Pritchard on January 11, 2015 at Duke University.
January 23: WCPE will broadcast a short selection of my music tomorrow (Sunday, January 24) at 9:53 PM Eastern Time. They have chosen the third movement (Slowest Waltz; Where Wings Take Dream) from the violin and piano version of Ananda Dances. You may tune in to 89.7 FM locally, or on the web here. The full recordings of both the violin and piano version and its parent version for string quartet are available on its web page, as well as a video of the quartet performance.
January 18: Had a wonderful concert at the Sounds of Justice & Inclusion concert with the Durham Symphony on Saturday January 16. They premiered the last movement of my Birthday Symphony.
December 6: A technical glitch prevented the broadcast of the Previews interview on WCPE, but you can listen via the link below. The performance on November 22 went well. It is great to work with enthusiastic talented young people, and I hope to do so again.
Classes ended two days ago, and I wish my students well going into final exams.
November 6: I'm off this afternoon to WCPE to tape a Previews interview (link is to the recording) with Tara Lynn and Margaret Partridge about the upcoming El Quixote Festival concert. The winds, brass, and percussion of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic will be performing Tilting at Windmills at the El Quixote Festival Concert, November 22, 2015, 7 pm, at Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh NC.
October 1: Just posted a physics paper published today by the American Journal of Physics on an experiment I did back in 2003 up at the University of Michigan, a fun little diversion with colliding droplets. It's also posted on my physics page.
September 27: OCTOBER CONCERTS: The Meredith Sinfonietta will perform the chamber orchestra version of Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord with violin soloist Xi Yang on their Fall Concert, Thursday, October 22, at 8 PM in Jones Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh NC, directed by Jim Waddelow. Admission is free.
Conundrum (Soprano Mary Elizabeth Southworth, flutist Danielle Hundley, clarinetist Marianne Breneman, pianist Philip Amalong) will perform Robinsongs at The Shed, 7 PM, Tuesday October 27, 807 E. Main St. Durham NC. You may order tickets here.
August 29: I've just posted a new version of Robinsongs for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, and piano, as well as a second edition of the original for mezzo, oboe, and piano.
August 16: Students return on August 19, so it's a good time to sum up the summer break and start some news for upcoming events in the fall.
After finishing the PMPX (noted below), I wrote Tilting at Windmills for Hugh Partridge and the winds, brass, and percussion of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic. There is also a version for concert band.
Pat Marriott will broadcast Clarinet Sextet on WHQR Classical 96.7 (Wilmington NC), Monday September 28, at about 8:06 PM. (WCPE has broadcast this piece twice.)
The Cypress Symphonic Band in Houston, TX, will perform A Little Poem on September 27 at 3 PM.
The Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, also conducted by Jim Waddelow, will perform Birthday Symphony on February 26 (7 PM) and 27 (8 PM), 2016, in Jones Auditorium, Meredith College, Raleigh NC. It will have a brand new final movement.
The Ciompi Quartet, joined by hornists Christ Caudill and Rachel Nicketopoulos (from the NC Symphony) and bassist Robbie Link, will perform E Pluribus Unum on a Sights and Sounds concert at the NC Museum of Art, Sunday March 6, 2016, at 3 PM.
I've been wanting to get away and do some travel this summer, but I had to deal with some stubborn illnesses, and so stayed close to home.
May 28: The semester successfully ended--it really is a great privilege to teach at NCSU, and I never, ever take that for granted. As my courses improve with all the tinkering over the years, the students appear to be more pleased each time, and only a few think I should be run out of town on a non-elastic rail. Physics is not necessarily the favorite subject matter for my non-majors, so I try and make it as painless as possible.
BIG new piece finally completed; Popular Music of Planet X: A Symphony for Concert Band. It is a four-movement piece with each movement offered as a separate work. Now to see if it can get actually performed...! There are some very good concert bands in the region. After a moment to catch my breath, on to the next project; a 10 minute piece for winds and brass on the theme of Don Quixote, to be performed by the Triangle Youth Philharmonic next fall. (Thanks to Hugh Partridge for the request; it is always a delight when someone asks for some music.)
April 24: My poor physics students are preparing for their final exams. Today was the last day of "class", although with my online course that's a rather abstract concept.
So far this year I have been composing exclusively for concert band. So far I have finished For Those Who Fell, mentioned below, and two movements of Popular Music of Planet X: a Symphony for Concert Band. Each of the four movements will stand alone as an independent piece, reflecting the reality that in band concerts, the repertoire is dominated by quite short works. The two movements completed so far are A Little Poem and Bump and Grind; you can find both on my music page listed under Music for Winds and Brass.
March 24: Pat Marriott will broadcast Three Pieces for Violin and Piano on WHQR Classical 96.7 (Wilmington NC), Monday March 30, at about 8:06 PM.
The Sights & Sounds concert date for E Pluribus Unum is Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 3 PM. More info closer to the concert date.
February 9: Just finished For Those Who Fell: a War Memorial for Concert Band. It is listed on the Music page under "Music for Winds and Brass".
January 29: The videos of Three Pieces for Violin and Piano now have the Duke audio recordings for the sound track (when first posted these were just from my camcorder); sounds good! Thanks to VoChor and Rob Musser for doing that splicing. Check out the Violin Sonatas playlist in my YouTube channel.
Great, if very preliminary, news from Eric Pritchard; it appears that sometime in the 2015-16 season, the Sights & Sounds concert series given at the NC Museum of Art will include a program featuring the Ciompi Quartet, two horn players (Rachel Niketopoulos and Chris Caudill), and bassist Robbie Link, who will play my E Pluribus Unum for two horns and strings. More details when they are available.
January 14: Thanks to all who came to the January 11 concert. Full house--standing ovation. Can't complain! Recordings are on my Music page and videos on YouTube. (Until further editing, the audio quality is better with the Music page's MP3 files than on the videos.) It is listed under Three Pieces for Violin and Piano in Music for Strings--alphabetical order with the other music.
December 22: Just posted the latest orchestral work on the Music page, Curious Interlude, an orchestration of the third movement of Clarinet Sextet.
Please come if you can to Eric Pritchard and Greg
McCallum's concert at Baldwin
Auditorium, Duke University. This is the first concert
featuring my music since last February. It will include Mozart's
Twelve-Tone Row, Diatonic Phrigian Tetrachord, and
Waltz For Our Time, all for
violin and piano. The scores are listed on my music page, along with
the orchestral versions of all three.
I finished three works for violin and piano for Eric Pritchard's
January 11 recital at Duke (Mozart's Twelve-Tone
Row, Diatonic Phrigian
and Waltz For
Our Time). Following that I orchestrated the first
two, now posted on the Music page under Music for Orchestra, and am
about to start orchestrating the waltz.
July 21: The Kickstarter campaign got a little over halfway to the goal, so...it is defunct. However I have started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $1000. In this case, the donations work even if the goal is not met. While this might not be enough for a Sixth Annual Concert, it would be enough to encourage the performance of some of my pieces on other musician's concerts.
finished Mozart's Twelve-Tone Row
for violin and piano, written for Eric Pritchard's recital at Duke next
January 11. Check out the score on my Music page, listed under Music
Lloyd Sitkoff will broadcast the February 18th
performance of the Chamber Concerto
on his show And
Seldom Is Heard, KNTU 88.1, Denton Texas, on Sunday
April 20 at 8:20 AM CDT.
April 3: Lloyd Sitkoff will broadcast John Noel's
performance of the piano edition of Goldbug
Variations on his show And
Seldom Is Heard, KNTU, Denton Texas, on Sunday
April 6 at 9 AM CDT.
20: The concerts went very well, and I will be
posting the recordings here and on my YouTube channel as soon as they
are ready. Many thanks to the musicians who put in such a lot of work,
and to Rob Musser for his expert recording. Here is the review in
Concerts; February 9, UNC
performance of slow movement of Violations on viols
and baroque violins, at A Cello Opera,
8 pm, Hill Hall Auditorium, Chapel Hill. Free admission.
January 19: I've finished work on my Birthday Symphony--on my birthday, January 15. It is now listed on my music page, along with its chamber edition (for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano) which will be performed on my upcoming recitals in February. This symphony's first, second, and fourth movements are based on speeches given by Martin Luther King Jr.; as these speeches are copyrighted, I have used only the rhythms and inflections, not the actual words.
Next post I will include information about my upcoming concerts.
have completed Birthday
Symphony, Chamber Edition and posted the score and parts on the Music page under Music
for Mixed Chamber Ensembles. Now comes the grueling process
chamber version, for violin, clarinet, cello and piano, will be performed on my next
all-Robinson concert at Meredith on February 18, and again at Carol Woods Retirement Community on Feb. 19.
February 26: WHQR 91.3 in Wilmington NC broadcast my Mantra Cantata last night, thanks to Pat Marriott for his very generous and kind words. The local AFM union will allow broadcasts on radio, but only the first two minutes on this website and my YouTube channel.
The fourth big annual concert, this time done in two locations, went very well; first a short version at Carol Woods Retirement Community on Feb. 20, and then the full version including vocal music at Meredith College on Sunday Feb. 24. Many thanks to all the musicians involved and to those who came. I will post recordings and links to videos on my YouTube channel of the Meredith concert in about three weeks. Here is the program for the Meredith concert.
January 14: WCPE 89.7 broadcast my Birthday Trio on Sunday, January 13, the last piece on their new music program Wavelengths. You can see the score and all details, plus of course the recording, listed under Music for Strings on my Music page. This is the biggest stage for classical music in the state, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to make a contribution there.
On a happier note, I just finished E
a work for two horns and strings written for Chris Caudill and Rachel
Niketopoulos, a couple who are hornists in
the NC Symphony. I have posted the score and its exotic cover on my music page under Music for Orchestra.
January 21: Rehearsals start soon for the Third Annual
Concert of Music by Bill Robinson in Nelson Music Room,
East Duke Building, Duke University, Tuesday February 28, 8 PM. Here's
the program. Please come and enjoy!
January 15 (57th Birthday): The concert on January 8 went very well. Latifa Noor couldn't come due to the grave illness of her father in California. Here is the video on my YouTube channel of my piece on the program, with links also on the music page.
Cellist Latifa Noor is visiting our area in early January, and will put on two events. One is a concert in my customary digs, Nelson Music Room at Duke, on Sunday January 8, 4 PM. This will include the premiere performance of the second movement of my Mantra Cantata by Jewelsong, five strings, and piano. (information)
14: Just completed The Big Note,
for clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba. The first movement is
entirely new and just composed; the second and third come from an old
brass quintet that has never been played, primarily because the first
trumpet part was too high. This should solve that problem. It's now on
page listed under "Music for Winds and Brass".
a great concert, An Evening
of World Premiers last
Tuesday Feb. 22 at Duke. We had an all-star cast playing four new
the program. It was videotaped, and when the recording is
prepared it will be posted here, as well as availabe on DVD and CD.
MLK Day: Turned
56 on Saturday the 15th; spent the afternoon with Eric and Laura
Pritchard in Durham.
Had my first student in my distance education class, PY 211.
This is a non-calculus course for people with majors requiring a
physics course, like biology, pre-med and the like. Only 12 students in
order to work out the bugs, since it's still under development. Next
comes PY 212, the second of the two-semester series.
November 8: Spent Oct. 22-Nov. 1 in Texas,
my first trip back to my home state in 5 years. Saw friends in Houston,
San Antonio, hill country, Dallas and Denton. Once again a bunch of
travel with William Swift. KNTU broadcast the Gayatri Sonata
with Bonnie Thron, cello, and Nancy Whelan, piano in Denton while I was
there, thanks to Lloyd Sitkoff.
Very busy with my job in the physics department here at NCSU, it's working out very well.
I've completed the first two movements of a string trio, haven't decided on a name yet, and am hoping to include it on the big Feb. 22 (Tuesday) 8 PM concert in Nelson Music Room at Duke. Another all-Robinson bash.
Since moving into a two-bedroom apartment, I've had a chance to start playing violin again. I had to stop in 1981 due to arthritis; played with adaptive gear for six months in 1991; and again for about a year in 2002-3. That last time the adaptive gear was more extensive, and I held the violin in the cello position. I built four-string and six-string electric violins (one each) and played with both a standard straight bow and a curved bow made by Michael Bach-Batista. After stopping play due to pain in my shoulder, I sold the curved bow. Now I'm starting up again (just on the six-string since the four-string needs repair to the very sophisticated Barbera pickup); but as the Bach.bogen curved bows start at 1500 euros, I am building my own. Almost done, needs a little tweaking, will publish pictures of this latest adventure in engineering soon.
September 16: More Radio Play--on Monday, Sept. 20, tune in to WHQR-FM, Wilmington NC, at 8:06 Eastern Time for a broadcast of my Govinda Sonata in its version for violin and piano, performed by Eric Pritchard and Randall Love. Pat Marriott, the programming director at the station, broadcast an earlier recording in 2008; this new recording we did last October at Duke on one of their new Steinways.
September 12: An eventful summer. Current news: Kenneth Bradshaw, on WCPE (89.7 FM) will play the third movement of Ananda Dances in its violin and piano version tonight, third piece on the new program "Wavelengths" that starts at 9 PM Eastern Time. Performers are Eric Pritchard, violin, and Randall Love, piano. You can listen on your computer from anywhere.
I moved to a two-bedroom apartment and traded in my upright piano for a 1942 Baldwin 5'1" grand piano, a very nice instrument from Ruggero Pianos here in Raleigh.
Just finished Strange Songs, and I will post a special page linked from the Music page with the score and information. It is for chorus, baritone solo, and orchestra; as such, synthesis is frustrating and misleading, so for now I will simply show the score and hope for performance.
May 19: Graduated on May 15, got my DOCTORATE in PHYSICS after a total of 10 years of study in universities and many more outside. Now I have been employed by the NCSU physics department as a half-time lecturer in physics, designing distance education versions of our PY 211 course (University Physics). The job starts in July.
My good friend William Swift came out from Texas for a week and added greatly to the flavor of the festivities. Click on the picture to see the video he shot of my trip across the stage.
I have just posted the scores to the first and third movement of a new piano trio in progress, The Three Kinds of Music, on the Music page under Music for Strings.
April 24: Please check out the Music page for videos of all four pieces performed at the Memorial Concert for Akanda, (program here), shot by Dwight Robinett and edited by Roy Verges. Soon I will have a DVD in very good resolution available, doing last tweaks now (thanks to Roy Verges back in Denton TX).
March 24: Yesterday I defended my thesis--passed! So now it's just some paperwork between me and the sheepskin. I graduate on May 15 with a PhD in physics. (I took my first physics course at Andover in 1969, and first in college in 1981.) Next, after some much-needed travel to parts unknown, I start my first real job as a Lecturer here at NCSU designing two web-based distance learning courses for the physics department. It is a half-time appointment, which is well-suited to my health and musical activities; it does mean my financial situation remains difficult due to severe debts. So, I'll continue to troll for grants, composition prizes and commissions.
March 21: Happy Bach's Birthday, #325. Last night was a wonderful evening at a fund-raiser for Mallarme Chamber Players, where Eric Pritchard and Fred Raimi played the Ananda Duet. Here's the review from Classical Voice of North Carolina.
MCR Classics has released the first commercial CD featuring my music, titled Ananda Dances, with Eric Pritchard on violin and Randall Love on piano. This, as well as the CDs of the Memorial Concert for Akanda and the Recordings of January 2009 are now available on the Store page.
March 3: Added recordings from the Memorial Concert forAkanda to the Music page for the Ananda Duet, Ananda Songs, and the Quartet for a New Beginning.
Feb. 23: Been having serious problems with my hearing for the last month due to autoimmune hearing loss; did 6 days of cortisone and now am using Itis-Care, an herbal anti-inflammatory that has beneficial effects. Much of my hearing has returned, but the loss appears permanent in my right ear. I have been using hearing aids since 2002.
Just competed the Clarinet Sextet yesterday, did most of the parts and finished recording the synth version of the last movement today. Find it all posted on the Music page under Music for Strings.
Wednesday, February 10, 8 PM, Nelson Music Room, East Duke Building, Duke University, Durham NC; was the Memorial Concert for Akanda (my sister who died June 3, 2009). Akanda requested a party in her memory to celebrate her transition; but since I give concerts, not parties, we had this event instead. Music; Ananda Duet (premier) with Eric Pritchard, violin, and Fred Raimi, cello; Gayatri Sonata with Bonnie Thron, cello, and Nancy Whelan, piano; Ananda Songs (premier) with Penelope Jensen, soprano, Eric Pritchard, violin, and Randall Love, piano; and Quartet for a New Beginning with the same players as for January 10 except with Izabela Spiewak, violin. I will post both video and sound recordings here after they are prepared. Here's the program.
30: I've finished my dissertation, pending editing, review
with my advisor Dr. David Aspnes, formatting and other details. I will
probably defend it in March and will graduate next May. I've started
writing a Sextet
for Clarinet and Strings (that's the working title at
least), and have posted the first movement on the Music page.
25: Finished the Mantra Cantata,
both orchestral and chamber versions. You can see the scores under Music for Voice on
the Music page.
Cantata, a 32 minute Very Big Piece. The first two of the
three movments are already complete in both chamber and orchestral
versions (you can see the scores on the Music page); I
expect to have the final movement orchestrated and ready to pass around
well before the end of the year.
30: Pardon my absence, had computer reshuffling etc...
Duet for violin and cello, written in June for Eric
Pritchard and Fred Raimi to play early next year
I've added a recording of my Sonata for Solo Violin #4 in a bravura performance by Mary Kay Robinson at Brevard NC on February 15 2009, thanks to engineering help by Pat Marriott of Wilmington.
April 14: Just added two videos to the Physics page. One at the top is an interview I recorded yesterdaywith my photographer friend Jim McGuire describing in general terms myphysics experiment and why it is of interest. At the bottom of the pageis a short movieJim made in 2003 (very funny by the way) on his family history, whichincludes a short bit with me in a horribly tasteless Stephen Hawking parody; don't view on a full stomach.
March 6:I have moved my experiment to Duke, at the Triangle UniversitiesNuclear Laboratory (TUNL), starting Feb. 12, and am hard at workgetting it ready to go. This will make it possible for me to findleaks, get lower pressures, then fill with deuterium and see if anyneutrons come out. If so, the World Is My Oyster. See the pictures on the tenth gallery of photos on the Physics page.
I'm finishing up the orchestration for the first movement of my nextpiece,Mantra Cantatafor either orchestra or piano quintet with chorus. Also I have a CD available that has all three recordings done in January; the Grand Serenade, Gayatri Sonata, and the Variations on the Grosse Fuge.
January 28: Great concert on Sunday the 25th at the NC Museum of Art; Ciompi Quartet with Randall Love on piano played my Variations on the Grosse Fuge to a sold-out audience. You can hear the recording on the Musicpage. The hooting and hollering at the end was too tempting, andcontrary to usual practice I left some of it in after the end of the piece. I'm sure you will forgive my indulgence.
January 18: Just added a great new recording on the Musicpage done Friday Jan. 16th at St. Mary's School here in Raleigh withFred Jacobowitz, clarinet; Bonnie Thron, cello; and Nancy Whelan, piano, of the Grand Serenade. This makes up for the mistake I made at the premier, and with the extra time, is a better performance.
November 26: Had a great concert with Eric Pritchard playing the Ananda Concerto I wrote for him with the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Randall Foy here at NCSU. The recording is on theMusic page and on my 5th CD in its lates edition. See the review at Classical Voice of North Carolina.
November 18: Bonnie Thron, Fred Jacobowitz, and Nancy Whelan played all four movements of the Grand Serenadeat the Carol Woods Retirement Community on November 12. Went very well,but I pushed the wrong buttons somehow on the recorder so the live performance will have to be done at a later date.
October 31: Just finished and posted on the music page A Major Piano Sonata* (*not actually in A major) in sythesized form. The first pianist to play it gets the dedication.
On October 10 I made a presentation of my plasma project to theTriangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) at Duke, and I'm hopingto move my reactor there at the end of November...should they say yes.It's very important since it's the best way to safely put in deuteriumand see if neutrons come out. They have excellent facilities forneutron shielding and detection, and can help with my difficulties with leak detection and control.
August 16: Fourth movement of the Grand Serenade (see just below) now done and listed on the Music page. Also there's a recent photo gallery from the lab on the Physics page; I'm working on new antenna designs.
July 11: Had a great concert at Glenaire retirement community in Cary NC on Thursday July 10. Fred Jacobowitz,clarinet, Bonnie Thron (Fred's wife), cello, and David Thron (Bonnie's brother) played my Grand Serenade. It went very well; do please listen to the recording on the Music page under Music for Mixed Ensembles. I'm going to write a fourth movement for this piece shortly.
June 1: Couldn't write music for 6 weeks after April 1, but now back in the swing of things; just completed the first movement of A Major Piano Sonata(not really in A major) and have the score and synthesized recording onthe Music page under Music for Keyboards (bottom right column). Haveavoided writing for piano solo for many years but finally getting around to it.
The project has focused on getting low pressures since late January,and finally I've achieved 12 mTorr, the limit of the mechanical pumpI've been using. Now I'm painting the inside surface of the reactorwith ceramic paint (a very difficult job and not sure it's workinguntil it's pumped out again), and about to add a turbomolecular pump tosee how far down I can go in pressure. This is essential for theexperiment to test for fusion reactions. Also I'm working oninstrumentation, which is another great challenge. Pictures will come in a few days....
April 1 (no fooling!): Now posting the completedAnanda Dances for string quartet, score and synthesized recording, on the music page.
March 8: On March 1, Eric Pritchard and Randall Love, a pianist on the Duke faculty, played the entire Govinda Sonata for the first time, at the Nelson Room at Duke. Great success! Many smiles!
Had a great visit late last month by Dr. George Miley of the NuclearEngineering faculty at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Veryencouraging. Being bedeviled by leaks and must figure out how to get low pressures before I can make any progress.
February 14: Just posted the third movement of a new string quartet, score and recording.
Eric Pritchard and Barbara McKenzie played the middle movement of the Govinda Sonata in its violin and piano incarnation, and Eric played the Sonata #11for solo violin in Morehead City last Friday. Then the followingafternoon the three of us had a delightful salon near Wilmington todrum up interest in the upcoming concert at UNCW on Sunday Feb. 17 with the same program (also including Beethoven's Spring Sonata and a violin sonata by Faure).
February 2: Just recorded the first movement of the next piece, the Ananda Dances, see it on the Music page. More music for Eric, and the Ciompi Quartet.
January 20: Finished the Grand Serenade--take a listen on the Music page in Music for Mixed Ensembles.
On Tuesday I take the two aluminum hemispheres to the physicsdepartment machine shop for a major upgrade. After getting them backI'll take a few weeks to refit, then should be able to get to rather low pressures and start the really interesting part of my experiment.
January 1: Posteda new gallery of photos from my lab. Also, have just completed andposted the synth recording and score for the first two movements of my new Grand Serenade for clarinet, cello and piano. Hope you like it!
December 13: Finallyhave solved some big problems with my reactor (running it was settingoff loud alarms and the video camera was freaking out); now can getsome great pictures and will post some shortly. However until thephysics department machine shop works on my sphere in late January I'm stuck at only 2 torr instead of 1 to 10 mtorr...
November 15: Had my preliminary exam today, went very well. You can see the PowerPoint presentation at the Physics page.
November 1: Finished Ananda Songs,and now have score and synth recording on the Music Page. Thiscompletes the Sixth CD which I've started to burn; it includes the songs along with Ananda Concerto and Ananda Sonata.
Made a conceptual breakthrough in the physics project; who knows ifit's good, more symbol shuffling to double check best I can. Now I needto get the sphere capable of much better vacuum (currently at a dismal 3 torr!). More when I have something figured out.
October 10: Just posted two things. One is the second of the Ananda Songs for violin, soprano and piano, Hare Krishna Mahamantra; see it on the Music Page.
Then there is the new paper on my ball reactor experiment, sort of awarm-up for my thesis. Although there are no diagrams, you can get good text explanations of what I'm up to that go along with the galleries.
October 5: Lost my camera in August but got another one, finally have posted a new gallery of lab shots on the Physics page, along with--the FIRST VIDEOof the ball reactor inoperation. (This is .mpg and won't play on Quick Time, use WindowsMedia Player or Real Player. Still frames from this video are in thelatest gallery.) No ball lightning or analog yet, but it is exciting tohave things working. Much tweaking, refinements, and many many experiments yet to go over the next two years.
September 30: Hada wonderful concert at Smedes Parlor at Saint Mary's School here inRaleigh on the 25th, met some great people; Eric Pritchard and Mayron Tsong from UNC played the first movement of the Ananda Concerto.If you want all 20 minutes instead of just the first 6, there will be apresentation of whole thing in Durham and Wilmington next February.
New recording and score on the Music page! A work in progress, the first installment of Ananda Songs for violin, soprano and piano (more music for Eric), A Sufi Song. The lyrics are by Rumi and you may see the words on the Spirituality page. Just the synthesized version for now but just you wait.
The physics experiment is getting very interesting. I've had the firstreal complete operation of the reactor last week, and it actuallyfunctions! No ball lightning yet, but I do get a generalized dischargethroughout the chamber for about a tenth of a second at 3 torr. There'sa long way to go; will have a new paper and photos in a little bit.It's a relief to see that my handmade microwave engineering actually functions, and rather dramatically.
August 21: Have been working on the Variations on the Grosse Fuge since completing the Ananda Sonata,changing it from a work for 5 synthesizers into a concerto for stringquartet and orchestra, and also a piano quintet. Both are now on theMusic page in synthesized recordings. The two versions cover pretty much the same notes but in very different ways.
School starts tomorrow....
The physics project proceeds apace. Had the first full-scaleeverything-turned-on test last week. The sparker filled the sphere witha flash of light; that thing has been very difficult to get to workcorrectly but now after several remakes and redesigns is reliable anddoes a good job. However powering the twenty magnetrons is moredifficult, and the 4000 V pulse blew up several resistors inspectacular fashion, leaving our ears ringing. Now I've got HV 500 ohmresistors en route shipping here and when they arrive, I'll fit theminto the circuit and flip the switches again. Let's hope next time theonly explosions are INSIDE the sphere! More pix after I buy another camera, lost mine during a trip to West Virginia recently.
June 18: Completed Eric Pritchard's Ananda Sonata for violin and piano in 32 days, now you can hear the synth recording and see the score on the Music page in the Music for Strings section. Quite a wild little piece. Looks like Eric will play the violin and piano version ofAnanda Concerto on his recitals next February, best guess at the moment.
May 12: Finished Eric's Ananda Concertoon May 4; completed the piano reduction of the orchestral scoreyesterday and the recording of the second movement today. You can findthe complete new concerto on the Music page. Now on to a violin sonata, again for Eric, which will take most of the summer.
Progress in physics; completed the semester with a presentation oncosmic ray detection; working on control circuitry, cameras, and thevacuum system for the plasma experiment now. I hope to start firing off the first shots within a month. Still a lot of work to go.
April 30: Terrific concert on April 28th at the 40th anniversary concert of the Duke University String School. Dorothy Kitchen conducted the first movement of theChamber Concertofor piano and small orchestra, with student soloist Joseph Shim. Thenext two movements will follow on the two fall concerts. Big crowdfilled Baldwin Auditorium, by far the biggest audience ever for my music.
Also, on April 20 the Chamber Concerto for piano, string orchestra and timpani was performed by the Virginia Youth Symphony Orchestra in Hampton Roads, VA, conducted by Robert Ian Winstin.
I've made arrangements of the Govinda Sonata for violin instead of flute, and of the Gayatri Sonatafor bassoon instead of cello. You can see the new scores on the Musicpage. Also I've added a new recording of the freshly finished third movement of the Ananda Concerto for violin and orchestra; all that's left is to compose the end of the second movement.
The physics progresses--will go a bit faster now that classes are over for the summer; should start making BIG SPARX within a month.
April 3 : Finally figured out how to adjust a recording of The Elements of Wind and Woodfor woodwind quintet; it's from a rehearsal in November 2005 by membersof the Nashville Symphony, but the second and third movements were toofast. Also I had to change the file format. Using Sonar 6 I changed thetempi and the recording is now posted on the Music page, do please givea listen. The first movement has an error in the horn part abouthalfway through due to a copywork mistake that lasts for some time, but...hope you don't mind!
Nobel Laureate Dr. David Lee from Cornell took a tour of my lab yesterday and found it quite interesting.
April 2: Infinite Energy magazine published the SMC reactor research proposalin the March/April 2007 issue. I'm afraid I can't believe anything elseI read in that magazine, but I can't really publish in a more standardjournal until I actually have results instead of severe speculation.Not far from starting to blow things up--hoping for May! Need to finishup some control circuits and rig the video, as well as pressure gauge, vacuum systems etc. But most of the grunt work is done.
February 22: I've posted the recordings of Sonatas 1, 10, and 11 from Eric's January 14th recital; sounds good!
Currently I'm composing Eric's concerto, as noted below, and also a reworking of the Variations on the Grosse Fugefor string quartet and orchestra. This is requiring some newcomposition but in general, the synthesizer original from 1987 falls easily into the new format.
January 16: The concerts went VERY well. Also I've updated the proposal paper on the Physics page. AND! On Christmas Day I started the Ananda Concertofor violin and orchestra, more stuff for Eric to play someday...andfinished the first movement a couple of days ago. See the score and listen to the synth MP3 on the Music page.
December 22: Not quite in time to mail out for Xmas, BUT! Now have finished The Fifth CD: Chamber Music, the best yet. Also, now the recording of Der Jammerwocknow has the vocal track included thanks to the singing of ThomasJaynes, baritone, who lives in Durham. Makes all the difference. AndI've freshened up recent recordings and scores to reflect recent tweaks. A strong end to a year that produced about an hour of music.
December 17: Finished the new Quartet for a New Beginning for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano. Any resemblance to Quartet for the End of Timeis purely coincidental. The complete recording and score now on theMusic page. Come give a listen! This is the final piece for the new 5th CD that will come out very shortly.
November 3: Onthe next convenient Saturday I venture to the Raleigh landfill for afresh crop of microwave oven transformers. And early next week I getparts from the physics department machine shop that will make itpossible to start putting together the microwave circuit from the magnetrons to the pressure sphere. Ifyou want to see more done faster, better, and with more style, feelfree to contribute to this unfunded research. Currently it depends on my taking out student loans.My current debt is considerably more than the total I've ever earned.OUCH! This does make it possible to give the idea away into the commondomain in the manner of pure research.
August 15: Now the complete score and synth recording of the newly completed Aditya Hridayam for oboe, violin and piano composed for Joseph and Mary Kay Robinson is on the Music page.
I've taken up lab space with Dr. David Aspnes here at NCSU at the Centennial Campus and will post pictures soon on an SMC lab page.
July 14: Muchprogress! 44 capacitors are en route, big-ass sparks to follow. Twoaluminum hemispheres are on hand now, 22" across and 3/8" thick, hit'em with a stick and they ring for a couple of minutes. If the physicsdon't work then I'm a percussionist. Also have started stockpilingpower supplies, have been coating 20 helical antennas with ceramic, andam crunching the numbers on the big complex magnet I'll be winding. Thank God for eBay.
May 14: Now have the complete synthesized recording of a new piece for flute and piano, the Govinda Sonata, on the music page. And yes, the Govinda in question is the Ideal Flute Player of all time, Sri Krishna.....This new piece was written between early March and May 11.
May 7:Exams finished(May 5 for me). Today added the live performancerecordings from the Duke recital of March 31 to the Music page. I havethe synth recordings of both the nonet and orchestral versions ofDer Jammervockon the Music page, not including the baritone part yet. My singingisn't quite up to the challenge so still looking for a good vocalist. This may be my best piece yet, give it a listen.....Oh, and see the Cure for War and my favorite mantras on the Spirituality page.
April 4: Had a wonderful concert at Duke Friday March 31, the first all-Bill recital in 22 years. Here's the program. Met some interesting people from the audience and if all goes well,there will be more of my music heard at Duke. The program was five of my 11 solo violin sonatas.
October 25, 2005
Just got a letter from Social Securitydisclosing all my reported wages from the first in 1970 to the end of 2004: I think you will find it amusing. Please to click on the link!
October 1, 2005:
Oh, and I just wrote a sharp-tongued letter to my alma mater PhillipsAcademy, Andover (the same prep school that George HW, GeorgeW, and Jeb Bush stained with their presence) that the alumni Bulletin didn't dare print....