February 15, 2019
Michael Brown at Copland House: an inspirational residency
In the studio where Aaron Copland once worked, Michael Brown works on his Concerto for Piano and Strings
In the studio where Aaron Copland once worked, Michael Brown works on his Concerto for Piano and Strings
Ian Murdoch

For Manhattan-based pianist-composer Michael Brown, a mid-January residency at Copland House was the perfect getaway--a golden opportunity to study, practice, and compose without distraction in the bucolic setting of New York State’s Lower Hudson Valley, honing his art and creating music in the same room that once served as the legendary Aaron Copland’s studio. One of twelve composers honored with the 2018 Copland House Residency Awards, Brown focused his compositional efforts at Copland House on a work co-commissioned by Poland’s Leopoldinum Orchestra and the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan: a Beethoven-inspired Concerto for Piano and Strings he will perform with both orchestras in 2020, a year that will be widely celebrated as the sesquicentennial of Beethoven’s birth.

His twelve-day sojourn was deeply inspirational for Brown. “Living and working at Copland House,” he reflects, “was unlike any experience I have had creatively. I would wake up, make my coffee, and get right into Copland’s studio, where I would start to compose feeling the inspiring energy of the room, peering out at the gorgeous surroundings. I made a schedule for myself to balance my composing, practicing, reading, exercising, and score study. Each day I would listen to a Copland work that was previously unfamiliar to me, often to works that he had written in that room. I hope that I continue to learn from my reflective time here, and that I carry the inspiration and knowledge gained with me wherever I am.”

Brown will return to Copland House for a second residency period in August.

 

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