Tufts University Recital – 4/26

On Friday April 26, I return to Tufts University for the third time this semester for a recital that will complete an Arts Residency.

The recital, Altered Worlds, is on Friday April 26 at 12pm.

In the beautiful Distler Hall at Tufts University, it is free to attend and will stream online at: https://as.tufts.edu/music/news-events/live-streaming

Except for a short arrangement by Somerville native Alan Hovhaness, that was recently published (read about it), the concert features all living composers, the Boston premiere of the Richard Cameron-Wolfe micro-opera Heretic, three new lullabies, the world premiere two new works written by Tufts students, and the world premiere of a piano piece by yours truly played by John McDonald.


Info Link:https://as.tufts.edu/music/news-events/events/calendar?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D172105413

New Publication – Mystic Flute by Alan Hovhaness, Edition Peters

Latest publication: Mystic Flute by Alan Hovhaness
Now published by Edition Peters

Aaron’s 4th Publication with Edition Peters

A sweet miniature and and wonderful encore, Mystic Flute was composed for solo piano in 1937. It consists of two voices: a simple melody in the harmonic minor scale balanced by an ostinato accompaniment in 7/8 meter that gives the work a hypnotic and ceremonial spirit.

The melodic line begins in the top voice, before moving to the bass voice, and returning to the top voice with small ornamentation.

PURCHASE: AmazonFaber • PrestoFicks Music

*Some offer physical scores and PDFs

As I tend to do, no notes were removed from the piano score, and all dynamic and phrase markings follow the original score as well. There are probably a couple of places where a player could adjust it more, but that is up to each of as individuals. 

This arrangement was premiered on July 29, 2018 at the Coaster Theater in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

This is my fourth publication with Edition Peters and first that is not John Cage.

Special thanks to Gene Caprioglio, Owen Summers, and everyone at Edition Peters.

~This is Classical Guitar
(click to read)



Plastic Dream Fugue – Now Musique Concert

Boston, MA – March 8, 2024 – Now Musique presents an evening of transcendent musical exploration and distinctive musical premieres with acclaimed guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan in “Plastic Dream Fugue.” The concert is Friday, March 29, 2024, at 7:30 PM at the historic First Church Boston, located at 66 Marlborough Street.

Larget-Caplan will perform a solo program featuring masterpieces from the 18th and 21st centuries, including a mash-up violin-organ-lute fugue by J.S. Bach, arranged by Larget-Caplan.

The concert will showcase music specially curated for Larget-Caplan’s award-winning New Lullaby Project by American composers Laurie Spiegel, John McDonald, Dean Rosenthal, and Ian Wiese, as well as Czech composer Štěpán Rak. The concert will include the world premieres of two New Lullaby Project compositions (n. 72 & 73) by Pasquale Tassone and Charles Turner. Lament by Mexican composer and Boston University alumnus Luis Obregon and a stellar multi-movement work by American composer and NEC alumnus Daniel Felsenfeld complete the program.

The New Lullaby Project, a cornerstone of Aaron Larget-Caplan’s artistic vision, represents a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation exploring the genre of the lullaby with over 70 compositions created for it, three albums, and two collections of scores. After all, who’s afraid of a lullaby?!

“We are delighted to present Plastic Dream Fugue, a concert that epitomizes Now Musique’s commitment to exploring the new and neglected in the world of music,” said Aaron Larget-Caplan, founder and director of Now Musique. “The composers featured are of exceptional talent and dedicated to pushing artistic boundaries and make this concert a must-see event for music lovers of all backgrounds.”

Tickets for Plastic Dream Fugue are available for $25 and can be reserved online at Eventbrite or purchased at the door. $5 discount for those in pajamas. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the lovely lyrical lulling of the guitar in the enchanting space of First Church Boston.

About Now Musique:

Founded in 2019, Now Musique is dedicated to showcasing innovative and boundary-pushing musical experiences that challenge convention and inspire audiences. Through our curated concerts and events, we seek to explore the richness of musical diversity and celebrate the artistry of both established and emerging talents in the recital format. Committed to education through experience and working to tear down the elitist stereotype of classical music, Now Musique brings music to audiences without watering it down. The 22-23 season featured 5 concerts, 4 all-ages programs, a commission from composer Daniel Felsenfeld, and over 30 living composers.

Oklahoma and Oregon Concerts

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I had the pleasure of traveling and sharing music February 28 to March 11 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and in multiple cities in Oregon.

In Oklahoma, I was hosted by Oklahoma City University faculty and good guy Matthew Denman. Over the couple of days, I gave a recital, taught some lessons, and had some pretty amazing traditional Thai food. I performed New Lullaby Project composer Jacob Mashak’s ‘Lulubye,’ and met multi-Grammy winning composer Kitt Wakeley.

The OCU students were fantastic, asking good questions and demonstrating the all important desire to improve and share music. Matt was an excellent host. Check out the Celedonio Romero Guitar Institute, for which he directs. I encourage students of all levels to take part in such a great guitar adventure. 

Kitt Wakeley, Aaron, Matt Denman

Most of my events in Oregon were hosted by Peter and Yukiko Zisa who run the 501c3 CDZ Collegium Musica. This includes co-sponsoring my performances for the Corvallis Guitar Society, George Fox University in Newberg, and at the U&I Event Center in Tigard. They were excellent hosts who connected me with violinist Mary Rowell and made sure all the events came from a place of love for music of the guitar.

At George Fox University and U&I Event Center, I was joined by violinist Mary Rowell. We performed 4 movements of John Cage’s ‘Six Melodies,’ two movements of Piazzolla’s ‘Histoire du tango,’ and ‘Revirado’ (unruly) also by Piazzolla. A special extra was having luthiers Jeffrey Elliott and Gregory Miller in attendance, and my school classmate Ross Grogan made an appearance. Super special evening!

For All Classical Radio in Portland, I performed my arrangements of Tárrega’s ‘Capricho Árabe’ with hints of Barrios, as well as a a few pieces with Mary Rowell, including couple of Cage melodies and a two Piazzolla pieces. We performed in front of a live audience and had a blast!

My final concert of the tour was in Astoria, an area I have a long history with since my mother moved there when I was 18. I have performed in the city well over 20x and it was the first place I performed on radio. For this visit I performed in a gorgeous home overlooking the river. Jenny and Ray Lund with Ann Lederer were excellent hosts, and the audience was all I could wish for. 

Check out the photo album below for more photos. IF you have photos from this tour that you’d like to share in a Gallery please email me directly. 

New Publication – Prelude N. 1 in C Major by J.S. Bach

Aaron’s arrangement of Bach’s ‘Prelude No. 1 in C major, WTC I, BWV 846’ is now available for  PDF download!

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From the score notes:
Prelude I, BWV 846 by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) is the first of 24 preludes and fugues written as an exploration of all of the major and minor western keys using well-tempered tuning for keyboard instruments: organ, harpsichord, clavichord, spinet, fortepiano, and lute harpsichord. A second book following the same structure was prepared about 20 years after the first. Though there are other composers who wrote works exploring the 24 keys prior, Bach’s is the most well-known.
The Prelude in C-major (no sharps or flats) follows a progression of arpeggiated chords touching multiple keys as it climaxes on an exquisite pedal point in the Dominant before returning to C-major. One of the most often arranged of Bach’s compositions, it was most famously the basis of Ave Maria by Charles Gunoud.
About this Arrangement – The regular arpeggio gesture is straightforward on piano, but on guitar the performer may have to do a few adjustments to keep this gesture clear. The performer should play the arpeggios over multiple strings as much as possible allowing the notes to ring beyond their notated values. The music can be realized in various ways; hence the fingerings are suggestions, i.e. measures 25-31 can be played without a Barre. For an ethereal conclusion, I raised the octave of the last measures.
Arranged for moderate level and above players, the solo is written in Drop D (E string 6 tuned down to D). The arrangement includes a brief history of the work, performance notes, and ornament realization.

Listen to ‘Prelude No. 1 in C Major, WTC I, BWV 846′

Spotify • Bandcamp (CD) • Apple Music • Amazon Music

Music I Am # 50 – Kim Perlak, guitarist, composer, teacher

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

I was 15 years old and walking up the hill to the classroom building at the National Guitar Summer Workshop on my way to a rehearsal. It had been a few intensive days of learning, rehearsing, performing in a close community of musicians, and I thought, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” After that class I confided this to my teacher, Julian Gray (Peabody Conservatory), and he gave me the best task, I think. He said, “I know you’re excited now, and I want you to go home and think about this for 6 months. And if you decide you want to do something else professionally, that’s absolutely fine and I’ll see you next summer. And if you still want to do this, and you’re serious, call me and I’ll help you.” And that’s what I did. It was a great lesson in self-awareness and responsibility in that exciting moment.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Developing a leadership mindset in every aspect of your work, regardless of your role, that allows you to be adaptable, collaborative, and open to learning.

Two ways you stay motivated:

By teaching, and by taking lessons and collaborating with a colleague who inspires me to expand.

Latest Project:

A solo guitar project of my own compositions — in the works now is the music preparation of the scores, ideas for visual art, recording plans, performances, and a surprise or two!






What inspired it:

For the past ten years now, I’ve been working in duo with my colleague, the great slide guitarist and improvisor David Tronzo. As we played, composed, recorded, and swapped lessons together, I developed my own solo guitar writing style — inspired by my favorite places in nature that I visited in our times of isolation in the pandemic. On a recent sabbatical, I had time with the great jazz guitarists Leni and Mike Stern, and I can hear Leni’s influence in one of the pieces too.

Who’s on it:

It’s a solo guitar project, with music preparation by my former student Alex Mak, and planned recording with Randy Roos at Squam Sound Studios

How do you discover new music?

My students and colleagues at Berklee are my best source!

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Your teacher and your teacher’s teacher. We should know our musical lineage.

Where can we find you online?


Music I Am #49 , Amy Brandon, composer

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

Not sure. I think working with sound was what I always wanted but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I was always interested in sound, in particular I would stay underwater for long periods of time when swimming as a kid because of how it sounded.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Being a good colleague.

Two ways you stay motivated:

Capturing what I hear internally and transporting it externally is always an interesting challenge, and what primarily motivates me. Financially maintaining myself in the arts is also a challenge and has it’s own interesting aspects.

Latest Project :

I recently was nominated for a JUNO award (Canadian Grammy equivalent) for my cello concerto, Simulacra*. This piece will be released with an album of chamber works called Lysis – (including my 10-string guitar piece Intermountainous) – on August 16, 2024 on New Focus Recordings.








What inspired it:

Simulacra is essentially a sonification of my own personal struggles with human identity. Like many others, I’ve often felt intense pressure to alter aspects of my fundamental self in order to do basic things like work and interact with others. I express this in the piece by making the timbre of the cello a metaphor for this kind of self- inhibition – it travels from one timbral extreme to another from the narrowest of timbral ranges to the fullest.

Who’s on it:

The brilliant cellist Jeffrey Zeigler is the soloist, I wrote the piece for him. Karl Hirzer is the conductor and Symphony Nova Scotia the orchestra. The piece was performed at the Open Waters Festival in 2023.

How do you discover new music?

Usually through research for particular pieces I am writing. I don’t listen to music for pleasure or relaxation, usually.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Living – composer Pascale Criton

Dead – jazz guitarist Emily Remler

Where can we find you online?



Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

My string quartet Lysis will be performed at the ISCM Festival in the Faroe Islands in June.

JeffZeigler and SymphonyNovaScotia

Cellist Jeff Zeigler, Amy, conductor Karl Hirzer

Music, Open Studios: Music Curated by Pedja Muzijevic, Concert in the 21st Century


















*Simulacra credit to artist is Susan Roston, Nub 2, Photographer is Andrew Rashotte.

Music I Am #48 – Jason Doell, composer & sound artist

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

ooooof…dunno. but it began to feel like a thing when some friends and I formed a band in high school to play songs I was writing.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

so many these days – we all have to wear so many hats! Project management, communications, financial planning…

Two ways you stay motivated:

i don’t have any system in place or have any external motivators….music is just so much part of my everyday….and my mind is always just racing

Latest Project:

becoming in shadows ~ of being touched – released in April on Whited Sepulchre records. 






What inspired it:

Daily practice actually heheehehe I was at the Banff Centre and my morning warm up was piano improvisations. That became the heart of this really weird work.

Who’s on it:

Myself, Mauro Zannoli, and the algorithm I created sad(john).low

How do you discover new music?

I listen to podcasts and radio shows, I get lost in app recommendations and follow genre histories, I go to live shows frequently, I have lots of friends with whom I share listening suggestions…

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Dead: Noah Creshevsky

Living: Xuan Ye

Where can we find you online?


Upcoming Event you’d like to share? (optional)

just had a baby…so nothing until June in Sweden!

Review and Photos from Heretic, a micro-opera

Concert Review: Cameron-Wolfe’s “Heretic” — As Played by Aaron Larget-Caplan

By Aaron Keebaugh

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan managed to keep the micro-opera’s crazed figure sympathetic as he blurred the lines between reality and delusion.

Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan performing Richard Cameron-Wolfe’s micro-opera Heretic. Photo: Catherine Larget-Caplan


“The secret of life is learning to live with interesting questions,” Richard Cameron-Wolfe said during the post-performance talkback following the American premiere of his micro-opera Heretic at Salem State’s Callan Studio Theater last Friday. The performer and composer had made good on that claim in the compelling resonance of his composition.

In this one-person drama, the protagonist, accompanying himself on guitar, wrestles with bewildering, irresolvable issues that lead to disillusion and eventual madness. Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan managed to keep the crazed figure sympathetic as he blurred the lines between reality and delusion.

Given its challenging psychological extremes, the opera cruises through a wide range of emotions in its taut 15 minutes. Drawing on jagged musical textures as well as a disjointed monologue, the score is a journey toward a sharp and shattering gaze into the abyss. The guitarist is both hero and antihero — steeped in the craziness he is gallantly struggling to overcome, this is a journey into coming to terms with insanity.

Inspired by British writer Arthur Machen’s semi-autobiographical 1907 novel The Hill of Dreams, Heretic starts off by placing its central figure in an almost nonsensical predicament. Larget-Caplan plays a character lost in a mental fog. He ambled onto the stage, shifting his gaze about nervously. He then sat down and tore through a jarring phrase that fell somewhere between the soundscapes of Iannis Xenakis and Steve Reich. Vocal utterances entered the fray, and words were slowly formed — language which was interrupted by more waves of violent dissonance. Though it was composed with Cameron-Wolfe’s usual mathematical precision, the music in Heretic can sound personal and harrowing. The piece places listeners into Machen’s dark, dreamy world, where the overwrought senses are finding it harder and hard to discern what is true.

But, while this was an unapologetic descent into mental oblivion, Larget-Caplan’s character is no Parsifalian fool. The man has his semi-lucid moments, articulating a cultural critique in which he blamed himself and others for creating a civilization that has no love for beauty and purity. Our ideals of art, he reasoned, were no longer goals for the imagination to reach — they were artifacts of what we have lost. As he made these scathing observations, the guitarist unleashed another barrage of sound — like an atonal heavy metal riff — that framed his points with an ironic levity.

Here was a man who was driving himself to the end of his tether. Larget-Caplan’s nervous and angular movements suggested the angst of a mind that couldn’t stop churning, couldn’t stop torturing itself. At one point, the guitarist angrily bolted to the rear curtain as if to abandon his mission to think, only to be sucked back in. Heretic ends in a spirit of disquiet — with mumbled words accompanied by the sound of a guitar purposely falling out of tune. The man’s dilemma is inescapable. Caught up in a vicious cycle of grand accusations and self-absorption, he boldly embraces his disheveled mental state, all pain and no illumination.

These manic swings were well-served by Friday’s minimalist staging. Chairs were arranged in cross patterns — as much a symbol of confusion as a pragmatic choice for Larget-Caplan’s performance. Michael Harvey’s lighting and video projections conveyed an eerie aura; Jerry L. Johnson’s swift and economical stage directions never let the solipsistic action lag. The wild thorns of Cameron-Wolf’s score were well served by Larget-Caplan, whose bold and energetic presence underscored his talents as a musician and actor.

The other pieces on his hour-long program were also dedicated to introspection. Keigo Fujii’s The Legend of Hagoromo relayed a Japanese legend with cinematic flair. It is a narrative of a woman who is whisked away to heaven, where she mourns the absence of her husband and son. Her tears water a flower on earth that grows toward paradise. Father and son climb up it to visit her. Fujii’s music colorfully conveys the sadness and joys of this metaphoric meditation on death, loss, and hoped-for reunion. Larget-Caplan played the piece like the fanciful love letter it is: warm and reflective, yet coursing with frequent flamenco-like verve.

John Cage’s In a Landscape embraces greater ambiance. Larget-Caplan’s arrangement of the piano original — inspired by Erik Satie — makes use of Campanella-style playing. Harmonics are meant to ring over the regularly fingered melodic line. The difficulty in executing such complicated effects are considerable, and the guitarist’s arrangement didn’t fit snugly under the fingers. The upshot is that at times Larget-Caplan’s performance felt labored and mechanical, lacking the resonance, the distant glow, that marks the original conception.

Larget-Caplan’s arrangement of Bach’s Prelude in C Major and Vineet Shende’s Carnatic Prelude No. 1 proved more successful. His generous rubato in the Bach allowed him to revel in every shift in harmony. In the Shende — a view of Bach by way of Indian classical music — he unspooled melodies and rhythmic flourishes over drone-like resonances. It was a splendid exercise in singing tone and alert sensitivity.

When taking his bows, Larget-Caplan gestured to his guitar, happy to share the limelight with an instrument that had done its job well. Still, modesty aside, the strengths of these performances came down to Larget-Caplan, a musician of fluent technique and dramatic verve.

Aaron Keebaugh has been a classical music critic in Boston since 2012. His work has been featured in the Musical TimesCorymbus, Boston Classical ReviewEarly Music America, and BBC Radio 3. A musicologist, he teaches at North Shore Community College in both Danvers and Lynn.

Music I Am #47 – Marti Epstein- composer, pianist, absent-minded professor

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

More precisely, the moment I knew I that I AM a musician (whether I want to be or not) was when I was 4 and figured out how to play Hava Nagila on the piano. The moment I knew I was a composer was when my band director in high school, Dr. Steven Lawrence had me arrange something for the marching band. As soon as I heard what I had written played by the performers, I was hooked.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Being kind and respectful to performers and colleagues.

Two ways you stay motivated:

I live in terror of missing a deadline. And, I live to create music.

Latest Project:

I am writing a motet for Emmanuel Music, and then I will be writing a piece for the Kozar/Byrne Duo.






What inspired it:

The motet is inspired by the Bach Cantata it is being paired with (Cantata 94) as well as the sentiment expressed by Psalm 133 (“Hine Ma Tov Umanayim”- how good it is for all to live together under one tent).

Who’s on it:

The singers of Emmanuel Music.

How do you discover new music?

Scorefollower, music reviews, things my students tell me about, things my kid tell me about.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

  • Dead Musician: Toru Takemitsu. His orchestral music should be on every major orchestra’s programming list and it isn’t.
  • Living Musician: Bryn Harrison. Brilliant, brilliant English composer.

Where can we find you online?

martiepstein.com; soundcloud; Facebook; Instagram; bandcamp

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

Emmanuel premiere is February 25th, but I also have a premiere of a piece I wrote for 8 cellos coming up this spring. Not sure of that date yet!

M. Epstein photos by ©️2023 Michael D Spencer