Conference Talk

November 6, 2012

Back in September I was invited to give a talk about my compositions at a conference on sacred music at Notre Dame University. I was (of course) thrilled to be invited, and I was absolutely bowled over by the warmth and generosity of the conference organizers. The conference included talks by several other composers, including Libby Larsen and Daniel Kellog, and stunningly beautiful performances by university ensembles and by Pomerium, an early music chorus conducted by ND faculty member Alexander Blachly.

The official title of the conference was "James MacMillan and the Musical Modes of Mary and the Cross," and Scottish composer James MacMillan was both the featured composer and the keynote speaker. I have long admired his music, so I was delighted to hear it performed live and to hear him speak. I was honoured, but quite intimidated, to learn that I was scheduled to give my talk immediately after his opening address. Despite - or perhaps because of - a last-minute decision to re-write a large portion of my talk at midnight the night before I presented (which led to a state of exhaustion fully in evidence in the photo of me speaking!), the talk seemed to go over quite well. I was taken aback by how positively it was received, but I have kept in mind the fact that, while my audience was extremely intelligent, they were also very kind and sympathetic.

The text of my presentation is posted here: