Thunderstorm: Second In-class Session at MHS

Thunderstorm Piece composed with MHS Wind Ensemble

Today, we visited the students in the Wind Ensemble at Marlborough High School for a second session on composing. First we reviewed the elements in a composer’s toolbox from our last visit.

In the last session, we did some melodic improvisation with student volunteers. We brought back snippets of those melodic improvisations today to use in a piece that we then created together at the end of class.

We took a look at form/shape and how that can be used by a composer when starting to write a piece of music. We included an example of J.S. Bach’s Canon alla Ottava, which we performed for the students. We also created some rhythms together.

Then we set out to compose a short piece that depicted a thunderstorm. First, we talked about the shape of a thunderstorm in sound and how you could portray different parts of a thunderstorm (rain, wind, thunder, lightning, etc.) with instruments and other sounds (snaps, shuffling feet, etc.). Then we combined our sounds, rhythm, harmony, dynamics and melodies to compose a thunderstorm, which you can hear below:


First In-class session at MHS

Performing for students at MHS

Today we had our first in-school session at Marlborough High School. We introduced ourselves to the MHS Wind Ensemble, played Spain for the students, and told them about InConcert.

Then we brainstormed together the tools that are in a composer’s toolbox when he or she is composing a piece of music. We looked at one of those tools, melody, by inviting students to have an improvised musical conversation with us–since improvising is one way that composers come up with melodies that eventually make their way into pieces of music.

As an added bonus, Gary Piazza (MHS Wind Ensemble Director) invited us to stick around a little bit to play for the guitar class that was meeting just after we ended with the Wind Ensemble. We had a fun time meeting the students and starting to get to know them, and we look forward to more interactions with them throughout the next year.

Composer’s Toolbox




National Chamber Music Month

We’re excited that our launch concert on May 7, 2017 at David French Music Company will be a part of National Chamber Music Month, a nationwide celebration and an initiative to draw attention to small ensemble performance.

The Cochran Wrenn Duo’s performance is one of hundreds taking place across the country this May as part of this sixth annual series. Last year, participants in all fifty states took part in events showcasing ensemble music of all styles, including classical, jazz, world, contemporary, and early music.

Chamber Music America defines chamber music as works for small ensembles of 2–10 members, playing one to a part and generally performing without a conductor.

“Chamber music is a vibrant and diverse field,” said Margaret M. Lioi, CEO of Chamber Music America. “It includes contemporary music, jazz, world music, Western classical, and styles that draw from all of these. National Chamber Music Month will showcase the richness of chamber music through performances in urban and rural areas across the country, and we are thrilled that so many presenters and ensembles are participating.”

In addition to celebrating National Chamber Music Month, the Cochran Wrenn Duo will be kicking off InConcert at this concert on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM at David French Music Company in Westborough, MA. Program includes music by J.S. Bach, David Leisner, Astor Piazzolla, Chick Corea and local composer John Kusiak.

Tickets for this concert will be available at the door: $15 / $5 students under 18. Proceeds will support InConcert.

For information on other performances taking place across the country during National Chamber Music Month, visit


InConcert Launch May 7, 2017

Photo by Emily Ashman

We will be launching our InConcert project with a concert on Sunday May 7, 2017. Join us for an enjoyable afternoon of flute and guitar music . . . and learn about our exciting new music education initiative with the Marlborough Public Schools Music Program!

Sunday, May 7, 2017
3:00 PM
Recital Hall at David French Music Company
53B Otis St.
Westborough, MA


Leisner: Away – A mesmerizing fantasy on the popular folk tune Shenandoah.

Corea: Spain – Guitarist Bryan Wrenn’s arrangement of Chick Corea’s ever popular, Spain.

Kusiak: Monhegan Suite – Local composer John Kusiak created Monhegan Suite to depict a day on Monhegan Island, ME. Be transported to this magical place through music and projected images of the island.

Bach: Canon alla Ottava from the Art of Fugue – Hear Bach’s pure genius in this short canon that was originally written for harpsichord.

Bach: Selections from Suite in B Minor, BWV 1067 Selections from this classic piece from the flute repertoire arranged for flute and guitar.

Piazzolla: Libertango – Piazzolla’s famous piece arranged for flute and guitar!

TICKETS: $15 / $5 students under 18

Bonnie Cochran, flute
Bryan Wrenn, guitar