Life is looping

Life is looping.

We are delighted to announce we have found a good venue to record Todmorden 513 after the world premiere concert on April 18. On Saturday morning, April 20, we will record TM513 in Bunker Auditorium in the Green Center on the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden, Colorado, just west of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (and home of Coors beer :) ) Check out the venue here:

Recording in Bunker Auditorium is a sort of loop for me. I first performed in Bunker Auditorium as a teenager with the Jefferson Symphony, an amateur orchestra. I was the orchestra’s precocious young timpanist until I graduated from high school. I also won the orchestra’s concerto competition one year and performed Darius Milhaud’s Concerto for Percussion, a marvelous piece of music, in Bunker Auditorium. The conductor at the time was T. Gorden Parks, a man I still hold in great regard for being a remarkable musician who understood how to bring classical balance to a romantic composer such as Beethoven. He also prepared definitive interpretations of Johann Strauss Jr. waltzes, such as the Blue Danube waltz.
Years later I looped around to the Jefferson Symphony, T. Gorden Parks, and Bunker Auditorium when Maestro Parks invited me to perform once again as soloist. This time I performed a Sinfonia by Cristoph Graupner (a contemporary of J.S. Bach’s) for six timpani and chamber orchestra. Man, that was a lot of cartage!
RIP T. Gorden Parks.
So today I loop around once again with this marvelous composition by Markus that I have orchestrated and that the Colorado Chamber Orchestra is bringing to life. I sincerely hope that our performance and recording of TM513 will be imbued with the balance that T. Gorden Parks brought to an imposing master composer such as Beethoven. Sometimes TM 513 and Markus can seem quite intimidating, but as our videographer Jack Casadone quipped to me the other day: Intimidation ROCKS!

Ok, enough of all this personal history. I’m delighted we are recording in Bunker Auditorium! Unfortunately, the cost of renting Bunker Auditorium is more than we originally budgeted for. We could record in a room that doesn’t cost $900, but I was concerned about issues that would plague us down the road and cost us money and time in post production. So many wonderful people have helped us reach 125% of our goal with pledgemusic, but we can still use more help, so please share with your friends, thanks!

Project funded!

Dear TM513 Pledgers,

Congratulations and a huge thank you from myself, Nikki, Markus, and the Colorado Chamber Orchestra. With your generous donations, our goal of $6000 has been reached, and we are now at 123 % of goal. Each one of you have insured that a wonderful new adventure will take place, the results of which you will all get to hear: Todmorden 513: Concerto for Orchestra by Markus Reuter, orchestrated by Thomas A. Blomster, performed and recorded by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra!

It is a marvelous experience to watch technology work for the greater good of humanity. The creation of the orchestral version and funding of TM 513 couldn’t have happened without internet, computer and digital technology. From the initial post by Markus on Facebook looking for an orchestrator to Markus, Tobias, and Thomas working via the net to the Pledgemusic campaign you have all now participated in, the internet and new technology have allowed for us to build a worldwide community that not only supports all of us involved in producing Todmorden 513, but has created new friendships and artistic partnerships that have a lasting impact on our lives and beyond our lifetimes.

This spirit is very much a part of the actual composition Markus has created and I have honored with my orchestration, in which a large group of musicians are important as individuals and in small groups, all creating a greater whole that we share with our community of friends and supporters, and ultimately with anyone interested.

Having written all this lofty stuff, we can still use more support :) So once again, if you can share our Pledgemusic campaign, the music that we all are working on, Jack Casadone’s video clips, and Henry Lowman’s charming promo videos with your friends and pals, it would be great to raise even more money to help defray more expenses of this project.

Here are a few links below, and again, we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts. When I take the time to understand what has taken place with this effort, I find it quite miraculous!


Thomas, Nikki, Markus, and the CCO

Lowman promo #1

Lowman promo #2

More news and thoughts

We are so excited that the fundraising campaign is now at 91%, so we are close to goal, and we hope to exceed goal as the costs of this recording are considerably higher than our goal of $6000. Also, by exceeding goal we will be able to donate some funds to the Youth Orchestra of the Rockies. Markus worked with the YOR students in January, and in April the YOR is performing Markus’ “Mariola” orchestrated for full orchestra by myself.

More exciting news: Guitarist/composer extraordinaire David Torn has agreed to overdub solo guitar parts Markus has envisioned on one version of the TM513 orchestral recording! So our international collaboration continues to grow!

Markus, Tobias, and our videographer Jack Casadone have all purchased tickets to fly to Denver, and Nikki and I are preparing the house for our guests!

Also just saw Bev Vriesenga of Moodstruck catering, and we discussed menu of our Composers Circle Dinner up on Lookout Mountain overlooking Denver. Bev is all charged up about this event, so you might want to make the pledge and be part of a wonderful evening.

We have included a short MP3 from our orchestral reading rehearsal of Markus and I discussing TM513 and the challenges for the performers. I am adding a few words here about the unique challenges of TM513.

As most of you know, Markus and I call Todmorden 513 a “Concerto for Orchestra”. While this term has been used by some 20th Century composers (most notably Bela Bartok), TM513 really IS a Concerto for Orchestra. There are 50 unique parts or musical lines, one per musician with very little duplication. Each of these parts are solo parts, and demand absolute precision and discipline on the part of each individual performer. At the same time, each part/performer is a part of either a trio or quartet, demanding sensitive chamber playing from the musicians. Finally, each individual musician and trio or quartet are part of the large orchestra that is created by combining the smaller groups together. Markus and I chose not to put ANY dynamic markings in the score, so the final demand on the orchestra musicians is that they balance themselves, so a tuba or trumpet player must be aware not to overpower a single violin playing their individual part.

By the second half of our reading rehearsal when we tried to do a straight read through from beginning to end of TM513 the musicians started to understand the kind of zen focus and concentration performing their individual parts and being a part of the greater whole demands, and by the final 20 minutes of rehearsal, it started to feel like the orchestra was levitating. I could tell by how my arm felt as I directed the orchestra. At first it felt like I was moving the baton through wet cement, gradually the cement turned to mashed potatoes, and by the final movements, my arm felt lighter than air. It was a marvelous transformation for all of us!

The reading rehearsal of TM513 has returned me to my roots, and in the weeks since the rehearsal I have been re-visiting all kinds of music, much of it very challenging to listen to (ie Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band: Lick My Decals Off Baby – a really weird and wonderful recording, also various avante garde classical music, like Ligeti). TM513 has demanded that I re-dedicate myself to the cause of new music. And so should we all, thank you again for pledging, please encourage your friends to join the cause!

More soon!

Exciting news!

Lots of stuff happened in the past couple days, and we want to share the good news:
1. Guitarist/composer extraordinaire David Torn will overdub solo guitar part Markus has envisioned for the recording of TM 513!
2. A large pledge puts our fundraising campaign at 91%. So we are close (but don’t forget, keep making those pledges and sharing with your friends, since we can use a lot more than our set goal of $6000 for the PledgeMusic campaign:
3. Friend and fan Henry Lowman made this really cool promo video for TM 513. THANKS HENRY, you da’ man!!! Check it out here:
Cheers! -Thomas

Pledge Campaign Progress Report

We are excited to report that the PledgeMusic campaign to raise funds for the recording of Markus Reuter’s Todmorden 513 is at 66% of our goal of $6000 and continues to grow everyday. We are confident that we will reach goal, but we can always use your help in promoting this exciting new international project. It would be nice to exceed goal as the recording session alone will cost close to $9000, and then there are production costs as well. Preparations for rehearsals, performance, and recording are going into full swing this coming week as we iron out details for all the exciting events coming in a little over a month. Negotiations for fair pay for the musicians of the orchestra for the recording and videotaping concluded successfully this week.

One of the most fun Pledger Plus events that is still available is our Composers Circle Gourmet Dinner with Markus Reuter, Tobias Reber, and Thomas Blomster. Here are a few details that make this an enticing pledge:

The dinner is on Friday evening, April 19 at the home of Pete and Beverly Vriesenga on top of Lookout Mountain, from which you have a view of the entire metropolitan area of Denver, the Front Range, and in the opposite direction, the Rocky Mountains. Pete and Bev run a catering service, and Bev is a spunky little Italian lady who cooks delicious food. So it will be a special evening of food, drink, beautiful views, and stimulating conversations.

I know Nikki and I are looking forward to the dinner, a time when we can hang out with Markus and Tobias and other good souls and commune. So please consider joining us for this.

Please share this PledgeMusic campaign with your friends. For $10 you can be a part of musical history. Check out all the wonderful  Pledge Plus options.

Oh, we almost forgot to mention that the buzz about TM513 in the international music community is on…we received an inquiry about a possible performance from a major orchestra last week.


Nikki Tsuchiya and Thomas A. Blomster

p.s. 5 % over goal will be donated to the Youth Orchestra of the Rockies, which helps build community and enrich the lives of young Colorado musicians. The YOR is performing an orchestral rendition of Markus Reuter’s “Mariola” on April 21 in Fort Collins.


Nikki and I first heard Markus Reuter with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto in their band Stick Men at the Boulder Theater in the fall of 2011. I was impressed with the Zen quality of Markus’ performance on the touch guitar, and was intrigued by the compositions of Stick Men, a post King Crimson music. I “friended” Markus on Facebook after the concert, and we had some casual exchanges via Facebook. In the spring of 2012 Markus posted Todmorden 513 on Facebook and ask for assistance in orchestrating the largely electronic composition for symphony orchestra. I responded with my interest, and in July 2012 Nikki and I met Markus in Texas while on tour with Stick Men. We transferred Todmorden 513 midi files to my laptop, and then converted the midi files into a score with the Finale Music Notation program. Since the summer I have spent time orchestrating a first draft for Markus to look over. In January Markus, and hopefully Tobias Reber, a Swiss composer who assisted Markus in realizing TM 513, will visit Thomas and Nikki and the CCO will read through a couple movements that Markus, Tobias, and Thomas have orchestrated. We will then hopefully tweak what we have done for the performance April 18. We hope to record and produce a documentary of TM 513.