Posts tagged #gscb

MMC Artist Series: Michael Cuadrado Sees Another World

We're wrapping up another incredible year with the Metropolitan Music CommunityBrooklyn Wind Symphony will be closing out the 2015-16 season Saturday, June 11 at 7 PM with their Spring Concert, a joint-program with the New York City All-City High School Concert Band. BKWS will be performing Aurora Awakes by John Mackey and Colonial Song by Percy Grainger, among other works.  

Our final Artist Series is Grand Street Community Band clarinetist Michael Cuadrado. Michael is a Drawing major at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and has been playing with the Grand Street Community Band for the last three seasons. Michael is an incredibly talented artist, and was given the artist's blessing/curse of having free-reign over the direction of the program art, after being told this concert had "no theme." Read about how Michael's piece took shape, and see the piece in progress along with much more of Michael's work in the slide show below! 

Finding a Feeling...

"When I was first approached to do a commission, I was told that this was the only cycle that didn't have a theme. That worried me a little, but I knew I could put something together. So this may have been just how I felt, but the pieces from this cycle posses a feeling of [being] otherworldly. They have these elements of being about about greater things, and that's what really drew me in. So I guess you could say I gave the cycle a theme [and] found it easier to make a piece that way."

Getting Started...

"The first thing I did was listen to all of the pieces but decided that it would be a little difficult for me to take something from all of them. I really had to listen to all the pieces over and over again, so I could get a sense of what the atmosphere was throughout every piece and try to make something cohesive. So I narrowed it down to specific ones--the ones that I instantly felt some kind of connection or reaction to. Aurora Awakes was the main one that has what I described earlier--that feeling of otherworldly. So I went with that because it felt right."

Letting Ideas Take Shape... 

"I didn't draw or sketch anything before hand, but I had a pretty good idea of what kind of color palette I wanted, and I knew I wanted it to be figural. So I just kind of made sketches in my head; it was all ideas at first. I also knew that it would take me some time to finish it and that things could change along the way, and if that was the case then I would just go with it. A lot of things went through my mind as well before I made the piece--what the color palate would be if I did decide to use color; if I was going to draw a person, what gender would they be; what material would be best for it, etc. Those aren't just the decisions I made for this poster--those are the decisions I have to make whenever I make an art piece." 

Revisit all of the Artist Series from this year right here. 

Posted on May 31, 2016 .

Collaborating On City Trees – A Conversation With Michael Markowski & Brian Worsdale

by Alyssa Pry

Take a walk down a city block in New York City and you see them. Along residential blocks, lining up like soldiers. Clustered in parks. Posing as shady resting spots. Surrounded by traffic and horns and the constant pulse of New York. Tall, short, stubby, lush—they’re city trees—somehow surviving and growing in one of the toughest places to survive. They’re also the inspiration behind Michael Markowski’s piece of the same name, which the Grand Street Community Band will perform at their Carnegie Hall debut on June 6, 2015

GSCB director Brian Worsdale was directing the Gay and Lesbian Band Association in 2012 and wanted to commission a piece for the organization's 30th Anniversary. He immediately thought of Michael Markowski. The two had met several years before, and his point of view appealed to Worsdale for this project. 

“Every time I’ve listened to a piece of Michael’s, it’s been unique,” Worsedale said. “I wanted that for the piece. None of the pieces that have preceded [City Trees] have sounded anything like it, and nothing sounds like it since. Each piece has its own unique stamp.” 

The collaboration between the two started with the idea of a celebratory theme—but both Worsdale and Markowski wanted to avoid the standard marches and fanfares. It was a task that proved especially challenging for Markowski. 

“I had two months to write the piece, and for six weeks I tried to write some sort of celebratory something. And when it’s not working, it’s just not working,” Markowski said. “So with two weeks before the piece was due, I freaked out.” 

“If I remember correctly, it was a Friday afternoon, and I had a blog at the time, and I wrote a blog that was called, ‘I suck,’” Markowski shared. “I wrote about how much of a failure I felt like I was being for this particular piece, and making that public helped me get over that hurdle and just admit to myself that the piece needed to be organic, and stop forcing it to be something it wasn’t going to be.” 

Markowski wrote the initial chord progression and the piece clicked. “I was like, that’s the basis, that’s the seed of the piece,” he said. 

Worsdale recalled hearing the first mockup of the piece. “I listened to it, and I called and I said, ‘You nailed it.’”

Worsdale and Markowski continued to collaborate on refining the piece throughout rehearsal time, an experience that was enriched by the trust they had in each other, Worsdale said. 

“You know, a collaborative work between a composer and a conductor, when they have a good relationship, the composer trusts the conductor to enhance some of the sounds they want,” Worsdale said.

Markowski agreed. “Brian knows this piece better than I do,” he said. 

The piece premiered at the Lesbian and Gay Band association National Conference in Dallas, Texas; an emotional experience for both. 

“That’s why we write music,” Markowski said.  “Because living, breathing musicians can bring so much soul and so much heart to something you create in a way that’s different with every performance.” 

With the Grand Street Community Band preparing for their debut at Carnegie Hall, each performance allows Markowski an opportunity to hear City Trees in a new light. 

“It never gets old. Being at rehearsal has been different from every other time I’ve heard the piece,” Markowski said. “There’s always something new, so it gives you new things to think about.” 



Posted on May 6, 2015 .

Grand Street Band Plays Carnegie Hall!

We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony to perform at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, June 6 at 8:00 PM. We’re playing music from our Great American Songbook program, including works by Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne. Guest conductor Curt Ebersole, conductor and music director of the Westchester Symphonic winds will be leading us for one piece. We couldn’t be more excited to be performing at Carnegie Hall and hope you will join us! Tickets are available for purchase now at Carnegie Hall’s site. Please click here for tickets.

Posted on May 1, 2015 and filed under performances.