August 27, 2019

     Today, I started the first day of my Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In a very real sense, it's my last "first day of school" starting a new degree program and knowing next to nothing about the way the school works—but it's also the last time I'll be able to experience that learning process about the school and its courses as a student. The next time I'll be a stranger to a school will almost certainly be coming in as a prospective instructor—an...

June 19, 2019

This post-graduation month has been pretty busy — much more so than I had expected after the school year ended. I'm starting my DMA program at the University of Illinois this fall, so I'm already all moved into my new apartment in Champaign and set up to get back to writing music. Therefore, I'm very excited to announce that my next piece will be a work celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Spring Valley Concert Band in Schaumburg, Illinois!

I'm very excited to work with the SVCB through this p...

April 16, 2019

Here it is! I was finally able to present these scores to my committee in my thesis defense yesterday:

And I'm proud to say—I passed the defense! You can read more about the piece and get a closer work at the artwork here.

With the defense and my comprehensive exams completed, I've essentially finished the degree requirements for a Master of Music Composition degree. It's incredible to think that my time at ISU is already coming to an end. It feels like I just started here in the fall of 2017, not...

April 3, 2019

Symphony No. 1 will be read by the ISU Wind Symphony on Friday, May 3rd at 12pm in the CPA! We will be working to make a recording of the piece, so there's no guarantee of a full run. Feel free to come and observe!

I've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on my thesis piece, Symphony No. 1: For a Handsome Kid. Today, I had the chance to share it with the ISU composition studio and talk about more of the specifics of the piece, so now I'm sharing it with the world wide web!

First off, t...

March 7, 2019

     It took a lot for me to enroll at Illinois State as a graduate composer, since I had been a pianist first and foremost at Augustana College. But when I made that decision and learned about the thesis process, I knew from that moment what piece it would become. I had no clue how to make it work or what musical ideas it would have, but I knew that my thesis piece would honor the memory of my grandfather. Now that I've completed the piece and have begun engraving it, it's time I share with the...

January 17, 2019

Happy New Year (plus two weeks or so)!

We're now three days into the spring semester at Illinois State, and rehearsals and classes are already in full swing. With this being my final semester at ISU, I have a big thesis composition to write. In order to put as much energy towards that as possible, I have to be very particular about how I use my time. That includes the time spent in my own apartment when I'm not running (well, speedwalking) to my next engagement, so I spent several days cleaning a...

November 30, 2018

It's been a few months since I've posted here, which is a lot longer of a break than I was expecting. This has been one of the busiest semesters I've ever had, but it's also been the most fulfilling musically, personally, and philosophically. Without going into a ton of detail, here's what I've been up to since my last post:

– Performed with the Symphonic Winds: Ticheli, Grainger, Chance, Delle Cese, and Bach arr. Grainger

– Played a wedding for the first time (Congrats Dan and Kate!!)

– Judged jaz...

September 25, 2018

     Today I grappled with altissimo notes on saxophone, since I have several of them to play in our quartet repertoire this semester. It got me thinking about how much effort I'm putting in to make these notes speak for this one piece (at least for now). How many other saxophonists would see altissimo and immediately skip this piece? Well if they're looking at this piece in the first place, I would say not many, since the rest of the music is significantly challenging enough to expect serious p...

September 6, 2018

Shameless plug: follow me at brianjhinkley!

     The decision to make an Instagram came late last night, after a long session of proofing and editing for Of Love and Distance, my recently completed work for orchestra. I hadn't ever gotten around to making an account because I didn't spend a ton of time on social media, but this is the 21st century, and there's just no way around the fact that social media is anywhere and everywhere, especially for anybody who is anybody. So now, I...

August 12, 2018

     For me, the most difficult part of composing is when it's not done yet.

     Well, duh. Once it's finished, there's no more work to be done. But that's not exactly what I mean. There are two big components to the above statement that really challenge me as a composer, and they both boil down to a few words: it's not done, and yet.

     It's Not Done: Perhaps the more obvious of the two. Empty measures, several haphazard draft files, big spaces betw...

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Recent Posts

DMA @ UIUC: Day 1!

August 27, 2019

This post-graduation month has been pretty busy — much more so than I had expected after the school year ended. I'm starting my DMA program at the Uni...

Summer News: Commission for the Spring Valley Concert Band!

June 19, 2019

SYMPHONY NO. 1 — Thesis Defense!

April 16, 2019

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