H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"Hey Bob, good to see you're still around!  It's been a while.
My early days in music was also very much chord-based -- I played the guitar as accompaniment for group singing, so it was all about chord progressions. I never formally learned harmony;…"
Thursday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"Interesting. I'm also a software "engineer" by profession (as an aside, I find the term "engineer" somewhat laughable given the kind of things we do as a matter of course!), but I don't see too many parallels between programming and music.  Some…"
Wednesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"The Gould is almost 700 pages thick, and covers just about every conceivable aspect of musical notation. You won't regret buying it!"
Wednesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"The Adler book is useful, but it no longer (at least when I bought it a few years ago) comes with a CD, but with a link to a web site with the recordings on it. What the book doesn't tell you, and the web site doesn't tell you, and the advertising…"
Tuesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"As far as books on orchestration go, I have Rimsky-Korsakov's, Piston's, and Adler's. Of the three, I'd say I found Adler's most approachable, as well as being most up-to-date (at least according to my entirely uninformed opinion). The Adler comes…"
Tuesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"Interesting. Do you guys work on one piece at a time, persisting until the current one is finished, before moving on to the next?  Or do you work on multiple pieces simultaneously, going back and forth between them?
I find myself doing the latter…"
Tuesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion Does this happen to you when composing?
"From the time I got inspired by Beethoven's 6th symphony in my early teens, I've tried to emulate his use of sketches to compose. Alas, I am neither a Ludwig nor a Beethoven, so my sketches have produced lots of shelved music marked "awaiting…"
Tuesday
H. S. Teoh replied to Rob J Kennedy's discussion Contemporary Classical Music on the radio
"Anyways, as conflicting a feeling as it is, maybe I have to begrudgingly admit my Dad was right and unless I had a truly remarkable talent (which, realistically, I didn't) I was never going to have a materialistically comfortable life following my…"
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Rob J Kennedy's discussion Contemporary Classical Music on the radio
"Wow. Color me surprised too!  It certainly runs counter to my expectation and perception that younger people don't listen to radio anymore.
 "
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Rob J Kennedy's discussion Contemporary Classical Music on the radio
"From following some modern composers I like, it appears that if you want to make a go of music as your living, you probably need to devote some if not most of your time on commercial gigs - composing for video games or jingles or soundtracks - which…"
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Rob J Kennedy's discussion Contemporary Classical Music on the radio
"My secret to finding stuff online is to use google to search a specific website instead of the built-in search tool of the website itself, which as a general rule is practically useless. Typing "<your search keyword(s)> site:website.com" in google…"
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Rob J Kennedy's discussion Contemporary Classical Music on the radio
"No young person I know of today listens to any "radio station website". But they are subscribed to social media music-sharing websites like Soundcloud.com; one could argue that that's the way to get to your audience these days. And there are endless…"
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Gerd Prengel's discussion Little Rondo for a piano concerto based on a Beethoven sketch
"This is such a beautiful theme!  Yes, please do work it out to a full movement. This theme deserves it!
It does sound like a fitting finale for a piano concerto; maybe if you're ambitious enough you could even fill in a 1st and 2nd movement? ;-) …"
Jan 24
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion She Moved Through My Pint (solo bass improv on Irish Traditional)
"Whatever theory you've learned can become a useful tool in your own work; that's definitely true and I'm not saying to trash that. When I was young a friend introduced me to Beethoven's symphonies, and I used to spend hours at the piano trying to…"
Jan 22
H. S. Teoh replied to Ali Riza SARAL's discussion Nothing Belongs to You forever (Choral version) 4 min.
"I agree that avoiding parallel 5ths/octaves and other such customs of common practice music often produces a more sonorous result -- this has also been my own experience.  But my point was merely that this has to be conscious choice, you have to…"
Jan 22
H. S. Teoh replied to Frank Paul's discussion She Moved Through My Pint (solo bass improv on Irish Traditional)
"In my early pieces I tried very hard to follow the theory. Tried to plan my pieces so they had the "correct" form and so forth. Unfortunately, it almost never worked out, and the rare cases that did, produced "flat" results: theoretically correct,…"
Jan 22
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  • Hello H.S. and thank you for your very kind message. Actually, I'm just coming off a very serious eye condition triggered, I suppose by an equally serious upper and lower respiratory thing I picked up on a flight back from Berlin in May (I'm in Los Angeles). The eye required surgery to set things right and I'm just now getting my vision back in the one eye (the other was unaffected). Actually I've had problems with this eye in the past so I'm not surprised the respiratory condition reignited it. This is since May 3 when I got back and I'm just kicking the respiratory infection now. It's been a grueling---what--three months? I've never had anything like this before. Had to be some kind of exotic bug from the deepest parts of Asia or Africa or something because I usually bounce back from these things in 4-5-days. This took 3 different courses of antibiotics to finally get under control (coughing up blood and blowing blood out of my nostrils at one point, but no TB) and I was still coughing a month afterwards. Beware flying internationally. Nowadays you take your life into your hands getting exposed to all these potent diseases like Ebola floating around.

    Greatly appreciate you letting me know you enjoy the concerto. You're right; I do get discouraged frequently because generally speaking most musicians aren't interested in doing an ultra-Romantic work these days, especially one that requires such large forces (expert pianist plus accomplished orchestra) to pull off properly. I did get word from someone who loves the concerto--psychologist and author Darrel Ray that he had a friend of his try to get it into the hands of David Stern, violinist Isaac Stern's son who is the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra but I haven't heard anything since. This was about 6 weeks ago. Got my fingers crossed. Maybe someone can pull a miracle off. I hope so. Thanks so much for getting in touch. I will keep you apprised of any developments. Wishing you all the best and looking forward to any news you might want to share about your own career happenings. Take care,

    J Joe Townley

  • Hi H. S. and thank you for your very kind comments re My Piano Concerto No 2. Not sure if you were able to get to my bio. Thunbnail; started studying piano seriously at 10; wanted to write a piano concerto desperately by 16 but didn't actually do it until 18 when I wrote a horrid 1st mov. to a Piano Concerto in C Minor in 2-piano/4-hand. Injured my RH forefinger severely at 19-20 (don't remember) but continued with BA and injured finger until giving piano up at 25.

    I agree. I'd love to hear this live. The screen-capture mutilated the audio. The SoundCloud audio is much better, but still sounds like an electronic rendering. To put on a performance of this concerto would cost roughly 150K for a top-tier orchestra/pianist so that's not in the offing anytime soon. My advice: don't write piano concertos if you're thinking of getting them performed. Stick with smaller works for small ensembles. Much greater chance of getting them performed live. I will check out your music tomorrow. Just getting this message really late (nearing midnight--yawn) So glad you enjoyed the concerto and noticing that it is cyclic. You're the first out of roughly 5000 viewers to comment on that (including earlier versions on YouTube which I have since deleted). J Joe

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