I am honored to share that I have won the 2nd place prize in the 2020 CIJA saxophone competition! Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition was held online by submission. Thank you to CIJA for the opportunity to make some music and work towards a goal! Congratulations to Daniel Cohen (1st place) and Alex Ramirez (3rd place.)
I have taken the plunge into creating high quality (I hope) videos. My hope is to make videos regularly with a few focuses: education, performance and maybe non-music related. At a time when we are particularly oversaturated with online video content I am thinking very carefully about how to present interesting content that will hold viewers’ attention. In the past I have avoided doing this because I figure there is just so much stuff out there already, but an experiment in trying to improve my audio mixing skills led to creating a video.
There’s a lot happening in the world to be concerned with today. Before the world stopped turning, the biggest cause of sadness for me was the closing of my beloved school, Turtle Bay Music School in NYC. I have written extensively on here in two parts about what happened and what I thought happened.
In early January I posted a long essay here about what I had been researching on the school- financials, real estate, motives etc. I went deep. I researched and learned more about real estate than I ever wanted to, I even spent time in the office of the city register navigating records like a detective. On the 13th floor of 66 John St. way downtown are all the deeds in NYC that aren’t digitized (pre-1966.) The one guy staffing the place said “What are you looking for? We have everything dating back to the mid-1600’s.”
I’ve been biting my tongue on whether or not it’s worth it for me to talk further about the closing of Turtle Bay Music School. You may remember I posted a long essay about my experience there, what it has meant to me, my students and the NYC community for nearly 95 years. Upon reading the linked article from the Gothamist, it’s clear that the Board of Directors’ plan to navigate the closing with a positive PR spin is working, because this article COMPLETELY misses the mark on why TBMS is closing.
I started teaching at TBMS in late 2015. They originally interviewed me to teach there on a substitute basis the previous summer though at the time wasn’t the right fit. I wasn’t optimistic at my prospects, how many times had I heard that my resume would be “kept on file” at all the schools, cafes, restaurants and offices I’ve applied to in the past 10 years?
I am very excited for this upcoming concert with a new project featuring Mariel Bildsten, Simón Willson and myself. We will be performing this Friday 1/11/2019 in West Lawn, PA at the Yocum Institute for Arts Education. The concert will feature my arrangements of some classic jazz repertoire as well as originals and perhaps a few surprises. It has been a rewarding challenge to rework the music for this ensemble of saxophone/clarinet, trombone and bass (in many instances reduced from a big band conception.) We will try to capture and feature the depth and beauty of each instrument in this context. More info and tickets below. Continue reading “Nathan Bellott Trio to Perform in Berks County, PA”