Since I last posted on here, so much has happened that I can’t possibly put it one post, so I’ll just keep it short.

To start out, my first serious orchestral piece, “Out of Ashes” had a fantastic premiere by the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra in May. Huge thanks to all of the musicians for their hard work in making it a success! There are no words to describe that night, so I’m just going to post the recording here for you:

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Then, after a brief, but adventure-packed time studying abroad in Eastern and Central Europe, and while still riding the high of my orchestral debut, I participated in the Charlotte New Music Festival in June.  There, my trio, “Precarious,” was premiered by Bent Frequency. Again, the musicians did a wonderful job, so it was yet another successful premiere:

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And this is where I wish I could end my post telling you about having the rest of the summer filled with productive composing and performances and rainbows and unicorns. But, that’s not how life went.

Without getting into too many personal details, suffice it to say that life completely pulled out the rug from beneath my feet shortly after Charlotte. It doesn’t matter how certain you feel about your life—sometimes, bad things just happen for no apparent reason, through no fault of your own.  And so, this summer, I found myself back in the ashes all over again.

I don’t need to elaborate further, because what matters now is that the Lord gave me the grace to get through and prevail over it.  No matter how bad things were, I really do believe that God can make good come out of it somehow, just like the phoenix. (Not that I believe God sends bad things on us in the name of “doing good,” but anyway, this post isn’t about my theology…)

Indeed, these days, I’m writing more music and being more productive than ever, finding more and more doors opening, and just enjoying the goodness of being alive and able to make use of my musical gifts. This weekend, I finished my first piano trio, after having only a couple of weeks to write it (that’s a whole other story to which I’ll probably dedicate a future post).  I believe that now, just as before, I’m going to keep writing music inspired by it all that only exists because it came out of the ashes. Today, I’m happy to be moving on from the ashes of the summer, excited for everything that’s up next, and looking forward to sharing all of this new music with you all very soon.

I’m back at Belmont as a senior now, and every day, on my way to class, I happen to pass this statue of a Phoenix:


Although there are plenty of times when I wish I could take back the diffictulties of the summer, the statue and the phoenix legend remind me each day of this truth: that some kinds of strength and beauty and opportunity can only come out of ashes.