Brian LaGuardia - Composer/Conductor/Arranger

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19 Articles

Summer Concerts at Avon

by Brian

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the Arapahoe Philharmonic’s summer concerts at Avon Pavilion and again at their new venue! There is nothing quite like writing a piece specifically for an orchestra that means a lot to you…especially when you also write solos for your mother, the concertmaster and hammered dulcimer soloist, and get to play your own percussion parts! I went a little nuts with those, having included around 25 separate percussion instruments. ­čśŤ Jerry Goldsmith would be proud.

I also had the opportunity to briefly conduct this wonderful ensemble, and every chance I get to be in front of them is an experience I treasure. There is no better place to learn and grow than in front of consummate musicians!

The piece I wrote was an arrangement of Shenandoah. It went spectacularly, however I was so busy performing my duties that I neglected to set my little Zoom to record. I’ll be kicking myself for quite some time for that mistake. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to mock it up!

There are even more exciting things on the horizon! I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Boettcher Conducting Debut!

by Brian 0 Comments

This past Monday, I had the great honor and privilege of leading the Civic Youth Orchestra in a 15-minute concert at the big daddy of all performance venues in Denver: Boettcher Concert Hall! The very same place I watched the Colorado Symphony, a professional orchestra, Record the Banner Saga 2 and play countless seasonal concerts!

I can’t even begin to describe how much of a thrill it was, especially to see the excitement in the students’ eyes. Many of them have been playing for maybe a couple of years, and yet here they are, finding themselves on the same stage that professional musicians make a living on! And they all rose to the occasion and pushed past their stage fright. Witnessing┬átheir growth over the course of only a few months has been especially rewarding. A couple of the soloists (brief, 4-bar solos in the arrangements) couldn’t even play the line when we started. They ended up knocking it out of the park in every way!

Here’s a short clip from the concert: Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5. Listen to what a full sound we got out of just a handful of kids and one or two sit-ins from the Arapahoe Philharmonic!

I find myself feeling increasingly lucky for all of these opportunities that have presented themselves to me. There are some exciting composition projects on the horizon as well…hopefully I’ll be able to write about those soon. In the meantime, keep striving for that dream! You might find yourself at a goalpost sooner than you expected.

I certainly did.

Takanakuy now available!

by Brian 0 Comments

Now that it has made its impressive film festival run, Takanakuy is available free on Vimeo. As I state here, this was one of the greatest projects I ever had the fortune of working on, and I couldn’t be prouder of the final result.

…except for that lack of reverb on the Pan Pipes. It’s not as cute as I thought it was. Lesson learned.

Enjoy and Merry Belated Christmas!

Takanakuy from Brandon Somerhalder on Vimeo.

Children’s Halloween Concert

by Brian 0 Comments

These past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the future of children’s concerts: small amateur plays mixed in with musical demonstrations. The content is entirely created from scratch, and the music selections either pulled from existing library pieces or arranged. I volunteered to arrange a number of things, from modern pop music to film scores and everything in between. Since community orchestras oft have zero budget for new music, this was basically a donation. However, between the good it did my orchestration chops and the fact that I got to work with some of my favorite music, I was happy to oblige.

The play itself was a fun examination of what constitutes “stealing” in music, and how art builds on art. So naturally there was some John Williams in there, the man being front and center of “plagiarism” criticisms worldwide. We had undead Mozart and his sister, Mozart defending his own borrowing choices when he stole from her, the Patent Troll of Nottingham who wants to sue everyone in sight for all this stealing, Robin Hood Prince of Theft, who advocates against the Troll so that as many people as possible can share in this wondrous music, and myself…I played the Notorious Neckbeard, the Patent Troll’s assistant undercover for Robin Hood. All of this parallels impassioned arguments I’ve made over the years (and are detailed in this post), so how could I refuse to help?

The whole concert was incredibly fun, but the highlight of the evening was when I, as Cap’n Neckbeard, got to conduct the orchestra in my own arrangement of one of my favorite movie themes since childhood to accompany Robin Hood’s entrance: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It’s not often you get the chance to arrange and conduct something like that.

Huge thanks to the Boulder Symphony for giving me so much to do, and being so adventurous with their creative drive! This whole process has been so much fun that I think I’m going to do more arranging in the future. But for now, avast ye maggots and have yerselves a Happy Halloween!