Day 13 – Udine


We successfully made it through a two-concert day–we began with our second concert in the Castello di Duino at noon, and ended with a 5 pm concert in Udine, a city just north of here. Both concerts featured our wonderful string and piano students, and also featured performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3. IMFA string students perform Bach in the Castello di Duino Our concert venue in Udine was a beautiful convent/church which now houses a prestigious high school. Last year, we performed in the sanctuary of the church... Read The Rest →

Day 12 – Work Day


It’s the proverbial “hump day” at IMFA. We are officially halfway through the program, and students are busily practicing, composing and rehearsing. The composers had a work day today, with a brief check-in this morning and optional “office hours” with me in the afternoon. Otherwise, they were free to compose all day long. I decided to get some of my own work done today, including video editing and some score editing on Finale (music notation program). By mid-afternoon, I couldn’t spend any more time in front of my computer screen,... Read The Rest →

Day 11 – There fell a heavenly dew


Ah, the sweet smell and cool relief of a summer rain! The day began as it has for the past week or so–85 degrees by 10 am, climbing into the 90’s by midday. And then the clouds began to roll in, with the soft rumble of thunder, and finally, by 8 pm or so, rain began to fall on Duino. As this was happening, some lovely music was heard coming from the auditorium on our campus–Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, rehearsed by our wonderful string students. We are all busily... Read The Rest →

Day 10 – Art song workshop


It is hot in Duino–high of 93 today, and at 8 pm, it is 87. The locals describe the weather as caldissimo. But the hot weather didn’t stop us from making music. Today we heard our Italian art songs for the first time, sung by Amanda, Lauretta and Andy. Some wonderful sounds and expressive text settings.We are also beginning our final projects–chamber music for strings. We’ll have two string trios, a cello quartet and a sextet. Those pieces will be workshopped on Monday and performed the following Monday and Tuesday. And... Read The Rest →

Day 9 – Venice!


Today was a fun and busy one for IMFA, and if you ask anyone in our group, you’ll be sure to hear many and varied stories about what people saw and experienced. For this post, I’ll guide you through the day as experienced by Jessica Paul, my Venice buddy, and me. We left Duino at 7:45 in order to catch an 8:40 train from Monfalcone to Venice’s St. Lucia station, which arrived around 10:30. We then broke into various subgroups, with most of us heading in the direction of St.... Read The Rest →

Day 8 – First Student Recital


On the heels of our first faculty recital, we offered our first student concert today. Marvelous performances from our string, piano and vocal students, as well as four world premieres from our composers. Below are their pieces, each of which is comprised of found sounds recorded in Duino. Grant Strom, “Al Porto” [esplayer url=”″ width=”200″ height=”25″] Rachel Lee, “Starnutire” [esplayer url=”″ width=”200″ height=”25″] Maxwell R. Lafontant, “La Grotta” [esplayer url=”″ width=”200″ height=”25″] Alex Umfleet, “Cercare” [esplayer url=”″ width=”200″ height=”25″] Also on the schedule today was the second of two workshops offered by Andy Whitfield... Read The Rest →

Day 7 – First Faculty Concert


Sundays tend to be a little slower at IMFA–no announcements and no Italian lesson today, so many of us took the opportunity to sleep in. Some students headed to the local parish to attend mass (offered in both Slovenian and Italian). At 11 am, we gathered in the auditorium of the UWC campus to hear a concert by our own IMFA faculty. We heard music ranging from solo Bach to an arrangement of De Falla songs to Mendelssohn to Franck to a world premiere (by yours truly). Other highlights of... Read The Rest →

Day 6 – Two castles in one day


Today we heard a repeat of last night’s concert, this time in the Duino Castle. For the students, this was their first opportunity to see inside the building, which is also surrounded by beautiful gardens. And the princess herself, Veronique della Torre e Tasso, was working in the gift shop as we entered! Later in the afternoon, most of the IMFA faculty and the Harrington quartet experienced Osmice, a wonderful tradition in these parts where you can enjoy a meal from a local farmer who produces almost everything that’s served.... Read The Rest →

Day 5 – First concert!


We’ve reached the end of our first week at IMFA. The composers have all completed a rough cut of their electronic pieces (which will be premiered on Monday) and have a start on their art songs, which will need to be (mostly) completed by Monday. In seminar, Stefano walked us through his latest work, a chamber opera based on the legend/myth of Medea. In the late afternoon, the Harrington Quartet, along with our three IMFA string faculty, a student violinist, Stefano and myself, all boarded a van to travel to... Read The Rest →

Day 4 – More music and Italian poetry


We’re almost through the first week of IMFA. Our daily Italian lessons have expanded this year to include some choral warm-ups and some beautiful music–in this case, a madrigal, which we’re learning bit by bit: In composition seminar, we listened to some wonderful music by Alex Umfleet and Grant Strom, then had a very useful lesson in Italian pronunciation and prosody. In addition to the electronic music pieces we are concocting for Monday’s concert, we are also writing art songs, in Italian, for an upcoming concert in Udine. Two students... Read The Rest →

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