I'm in a really good space both personally and musically. Namely, I'm achieving a good balance in terms of juggling different musical things and also making sure I'm not burned out by sustaining interests and activities that sometimes take over my studies.
Lessons with Stuart (and Johannes while he's in town) are fantastic. We're fine-tuning the make-up of my recital orchestra, making sure individual timbres aren't being lost and discussing conceptual applications of the big band and the live processing. At this stage, along with the occasional appearance it looks like I'm going with a setup of a woodwind quartet (with soprano saxophone instead of oboe), string trio, french horn, mezzo soprano, rhythm section (including guitar) and percussion, handled by two players. I'll play piano - having no conductor will be a challenge but will be pulled off because the drummer informs timekeeping, and I like being a harmonic and rhythmic 'supervisor' of the music.
Along with the much-anticipated (by me, anyway) premiere of by far my longest musical work at the Perth International Jazz Festival, Ron Stone Park is also being premiered at the same festival by WAYJO. I was already excited to play James and Amelia's music but now also really thrilled another jazz orchestra piece of mine gets to be performed. I'm currently fine-tuning it for rehearsal next week - so pumped to workshop it further and tidy it up.
Free improv's going well - my friend Josten Myburgh is intensively spearheading somewhat of a boom in the Perth free improv culture. This has many applications - informing my own musical structures, getting some miles into my newly-acquired alto flute/found objects/saxophone setup (specifically mouthpiece-less playing) and learning how to think outside the box when contributing to and influencing group improvisation settings. I had a play with Josten a few days ago as well as taking part in workshops he puts on; if you ever see me do one of these gigs I almost look like I'm possessed, such is the difference in the way I creatively approach the performance. Such is the intensity I often have to space out the time I put into this but it's a craft worth getting into - particularly for jazz players. As I've said, my approach to jazz improvisation has pretty much turned on its head as a result.
Other things I'm working on: the UK film score, the World Saxophone Congress commission (with tibetan singing bowls and cool structure things, yay), entering competitions, reorchestration of existing music... too much. It's all great though. Loving this year.