A fantastic video of a talk by Benjamin Zander about the transformative power of classical music.
Part 2 of our series. See what Cody has been doing over the past few months.
What other projects have you been working on?
Cody: After finishing my string quartet (see part 1), I worked on editing another chamber work of mine, Dona nobis pacem. I’ve been rather unhappy with it since its premiere in January, so it’s been a relief to work on it and sculpt it into something that I am much more happy with.
I am also a music copyist, meaning I take other composers’ manuscript scores and “engrave” them using music notation software. I’ve worked with several NEC faculty members over the last few months copying their handwritten scores into computer-notated versions.
Cody: I wish I had a typical work day! My schedule is fairly chaotic, each day is different. In addition to composing, I have several jobs—archives assistant at the NEC Library, music copyist, assistant for the NEC Department of Music History and Musicology—and I fit composing in wherever and whenever I can.
Where do you usually compose?
Cody: Because of the chaos described above, I usually compose wherever I can find a quiet space—although I do occasionally compose in noisy coffee shops (sometimes din has the same effect on me as complete quiet). That said, there are a few places where I usually do not compose: the library and at home. I usually work on engraving projects at home, so there’s something of a mental issue with getting into my “composer brain” there. Same issue with the library, since that is my place of “work,” it is difficult to get in the right headspace needed to compose. Of course, there are always exceptions (especially in a time-crunch!), so in reality, no space is totally off-limits.
Cody W. Forrest has been commissioned by Dinosaur Annex, conductor Daniel Hege, and the Cochran-Wrenn Duo. His music has been performed by the Cassatt String Quartet and internationally by violinist Léo Marillier, awarded an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, NEC Honors Ensemble Award, and selected for the 2015 EarShot New Music Readings. Recently, he served as composer-in-residence for Chamber Music Campania’s 2016 festival in Varano, Italy, where his woodwind quintet Secret Litanies received its European premiere.
Currently a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory, Cody holds an M.M. from Syracuse University and a B.M. from the University of North Texas, where he graduated magna cum laude. At Syracuse University, he was a recipient of the Heaton Fellowship, and at UNT he received the Martin Mailman Scholarship and the Outstanding Undergraduate in Composition Award his senior year. His teachers include Kati Agócs, Malcolm Peyton, Daniel Godfrey, Andrew Waggoner, and Cindy McTee.
Today we visited the Marlborough High School Wind Ensemble for a third session, where we were joined by composer Cody Forrest. During an interview-type discussion we learned about how Cody got started in music and how he got into composing. We learned about supportive teachers, friends, and cultural influences (like the film score from Lord of the Rings) along the way which helped shape Cody into the composer he is today.
We also learned a little about Cody’s composition process, and learned about the meaning behind one of Cody’s compositions, To See the Stars Again. You can read more about this award-winning composition at Cody’s website, and you can listen to the full piece below:
After we listened to the opening of To See the Stars Again, we divided the class into 4 groups. Two groups worked on creating short rhythmic patterns, and two groups worked on composing short melodies that may eventually find their way into the composition in some form.
We’ll look forward to hearing those melodies and rhythms performed when we return to visit the MHS Wind Ensemble again next week.