Well, I really have been neglecting my blog, haven’t I? That is actually soooo not like me. I do apologize. I have actually been a really good girl at Facebooking – so if you aren’t already a fan of mine on Facebook, go ahead and “like” my page there to stay up to date more often. http://www.facebook.com/jenniferthomaspiano
With that being said, I can only write so much on Facebook and so if you want to know more of what’s happening in my world, come to my blog. Hopefully I’ll be a better blogger than I have these past few months.
The holidays kept me pretty busy, and then family stuff, and then we moved. Yes we moved! Would you like to see some photos? Here, I’ll show you my two most favorite rooms in the house…
This is the living room (with my two little ones – Preston is now 2 and 1/2 years old, and Taylor is 5 months old)
And then here is my music studio…
With having two little ones now, we sort of outgrew our previous residence and needed something bigger. This is actually the first time I’ve had a room for my studio ALL in itself. I’ve usually had to share with something else. But nope. This time…it’s all mine. I really am so excited.
We’re still working on getting things unpacked and organized. I love decorating though, and so that is one of the first things I did (and throw some paint up on the walls).
Let’s talk about music though.
It’s 2011, and I’ve got an album coming out later this year. I’ve actually been working on this album for 2 and 1/2 years now. I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. I started the music when I was actually working on The Lullaby Album in 2008. I feel like my compositions have really grown since Key of Sea, and so I’m really excited to share the music with you.
While I do love doing original compositions (because they are so special to me), I also love arranging music, especially Classical music. Over the last couple of years I’ve realized that I really have a knack for this. It really fulfills me – coming from a Classical background. Which, I would like to insert here for those younger people who are studying music, don’t ever underestimate the possiblities of what you can do with your talent. There is no defined “box” in music, where you have to be molded into something and be steared only one direction. I used to really think that way, as if there were only two roads to be taken with music – either being a teacher or a performer. Not so. There are endless, absolutely ENDLESS possibilities. So keep working at it so you have the best talent to use for whatever creative direction you go.
Anyway, one piece in particular that I’m getting very excited about is that I’m arranging Dvorak’s New World Symphony. In the early 20th century someone put words to it and it became the song “Goin’ Home”. On my album, it will be called “Home”. This beautiful symphonic piece will (obviously) feature the piano this time, and in the middle there is an interlude where I’ve taken the 2nd movement of Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto and woven it through the New World Symphony Theme. Why? I have no clue. These two songs have nothing to do with each other but they compliment each other greatly, in fact.
Another song I’m excited about, which is NOT a Classical piece, is that I’m arranging the song “Secrets” from the band OneRepublic. It’s an amazing song that I love and seriously play it over…and over…and over. I finally said “I have to arrange this song!”. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to arrange it for piano, but when it came to me – it sounded amazing. I’m going to have a talented young cellist record that catchy cello part as well.
I do have a random question for you readers though. What do you think of the title “Portraits” for this album? Its what I’ve been calling it for such a long time that it’s been ingrained in me. However, if you really want to get technical about it. a “portrait” is typically a photograph or piece of art of someone’s face. I’m talking of portraits of the beautiful outdoors though…does it really make sense though? If there are some other ideas out there for titles, I would love to hear them.
The photography for the album is coming together as well. As you know, this is an art-centered album around the landscape photography of my Dad, Ron Southworth. He’s taken some beautiful trips lately to the North Cascades and snapped some really amazing thos. He also has gotten several shots on the Oregon Coast as well – all of which are great inspirations for the original songs I’m writing for the album.
I’m currently working on a symphonic piece with the amazing Swedish composer Glen Gabriel. He’s asked me to compose and perform the solo violin part for the work. While yes I am a violinist, not it’s not my primary instrument and so composing a stunning solo part for his symphony has been a challenge for me. One that I have whole heartedly embraced though. I’ve always been a “work horse” violinist (a.k.a. a symphony player), so to be the “show horse” (soloist) is a bit of a change for me.
And that’s really it! My album in itself takes up so much of my creative time and energy that I haven’t really sought out other projects as of right now. There is still so much to be done though. I still need to orchestrate all of the music – which is actually time consuming in itself. Writing a piano part is one thing, but then writing the orchestration is like composing the song all over again and taking it to a whole other level. It takes a lot of time, and you want to be sure that the orchestration adds to the piece and isn’t just background repetitive stuff (otherwise why have it?).
Once the music is all recorded and orchestrated, I’ll need to get send it off for mixing and mastering. Such an essential part to making one’s music sound professional and beautiful – I might add. And then the artwork for the album – oh the artwork. This album in particular is going to take a lot of work because the artwork is the theme and concept! Not only has the photography taken a couple of years to take, (and still in the process of being taken) but the actual album artwork itself is extensive. I have an amazing 3D digital artist named Don Webster, who will be creating my cover for the album. It’s hard to explain, but basically he is going to be putting a grand piano in the middle of a forest for me, but its also inside of an ornate picture frame. The end result will be beautiful and as if the piano was actually taken inside the photo. I can’t wait to see the finished product – its going to be amazing!
So as you can see, all of this does take some time to create and finish. The plan is by the end of the year. And also, in conjunction with the CD release I will be doing some concerts as well. Can you believe it’s been a little over 3 years since I last did some concerts?
Anyway, music-wise, that’s it. Thanks for taking the time to read the update, and please don’t hesitate to drop a hello or comment.