Month: April 2016

The Composer And The Snake

SnakeThe premiere of my composition ‘Sirens’ by the Esprit orchestra was spectacular. I love it when I write a piece and Alex, through his conducting, is able to inspire such a great interpretation from the performers that the piece sounds much better than I imagined. He also went to such great lengths to find an elusive pump organ that is an integral component to this composition making it slightly unique and giving it an unusual flavour. Being a composer is often not an easy task, but when a work is performed so well and received by the audience, that makes it all worth while. Those feelings often last long enough to give energy to begin the next composition.

After this very successful premiere of my piece and a long 28 hour trip back to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, I returned the next day to my hectic teaching schedule.  I was helping my advanced students make recordings of their performance repertoire to submit for their International Baccalaureate Diplomas. This progressed well into the evening.

At around 22:00, I noticed  a cute visitor in the outside entrance to my classroom. I found him stuck in the bottom of the stairwell and he couldn’t get back up the stairs. The school is by the river, so I used a piece of paper to herd him into a large tupperware container and let security put him out. He was really fast and aggressive, rearing up like a cobra and jumping. I checked online and it seems this is an adolescent Malaysian Pit Viper. There is no anti venom, certain death from a bite – and babies are as poisonous as adults. No wonder he was so arrogant! This is one of the many interesting things about living in Vietnam! There is no shortage of inspiration.

— Doug

Douglas Schmidt’s most recent piece for orchestra, Sirens, was premiered by Esprit in our March concert at Koerner Hall. For pictures, click here.

Also see “The Lady Gertrude” and Shanghai Dim Sum