After an amazing week at the UNL Chamber Music Institute, I’m back to meeting with and talking to composers, conductors, and performers. This is part of the new MusicSpoke project (follow us on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.)

This week I had a chance to catch up with Tinsley Silcox. You can read Tinsley’s hefty and impressive biography here. I first met Tinsley when I was his accompanist in Dallas twenty years ago. Tinsley and I became lifelong friends, and his conception of choral sound and philosophy of conducting had a profound influence on me. In addition to being an amazing conductor (listen to his boys sing here), Tinsley is a gifted composer with a wonderful sensitivity to text and an imaginative harmonic palette. Here is a link to one of Tinsley’s compositions.  He is a typical case of a quality composer whose music should be more widely known.

During the Chamber Music Institute, Timothy Tharaldon was driving through town, and he, Garrett Hope, and I could only meet at 7am to hang out. Naturally, any composer willing to meet at 7am has a questionable commitment to his craft since the muse normally strikes at unexpectedly late hours, but we managed – through the abuse of caffeinated substances – to hold some semblance of a conversation.

Timothy is another composer/conductor who is very gifted in both disciplines. Check out his website here. Even after a cursory listening to some of Timothy’s music, you will immediately know that he has a great weakness for extraordinary beauty. I also love that he has contrapuntal skills. He has lots of good music, but my favorite one that I know about is this one.

Garrett Hope is one of those composers that seems completely comfortable in any harmonic idiom or style. Garrett can write contemporary concert music, electronic music, popular music, and probably some other stuff that I don’t know about. Check out Garrett’s website here. My favorite thing about Garrett’s music is his ability to pair it with visual images that make the sounds even more poignant. After you listen to this, if you are a musical theorist you need to read on.

I didn’t know this before breakfast the other morning, but Garrett worked with a professor at UNL to develop a set theory/matrix app. He showed it to me, and I can easily say it is better and easier to use than any of the online tools that I’ve been using. I’m going to get it. If you are doing post tonal analysis, I think it’s a must. iPhone users can find it here and Android users can find it here.