The Music of Donald L. Appert

Don Appert Clark College Web Site

Don's Musical Biography

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The Music

1 - Music In the Similitude of a Dream - (07:47)

(1981) - I composed this piece for a concert by the Tidewater Composers Guild in Virginia. I conducted the premiere with the Composers Festival String Orchestra along with the premieres of 8 other works! Since then I conducted it with the University of Kansas Summer String Orchestra and my own Clark College Orchestra (as recorded on our compact disc "In Concert!"). Recently the Ashiya Chamber Orchestra in Japan performed it. I will be conducting it again with the Eastern Washington Symphony Orchestra in May of 1999 and with the Warwick Community Youth Orchestra in Australia in August of 1999.

This is the premiere performance with me conducting the Composers Festival String Orchestra.

Published by Harmonic Services Group.

2 - Music Elegy for Unaccompanied 'Cello - (06:50)

(1979) - James Herbison, Asst. Principal 'Cello for the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera, gave the premiere of this work specifically composed for him on his Faculty Recital at Hampton University in Virginia. This piece was also performed at the College of William & Mary by the Principal 'Cellist of the Virginia Symphony.

3 - Music Three Pieces for Piano - (03:47)

- Chorale - Waltz - Scherzo

(1979) - Adolphus Hailstork is heard on this recording of the premiere at the first concert by the Tidewater Composers Guild, a group that I co-founded with a colleague at Hampton University. Dolph was on the faculty of nearby Norfolk State University and has gone on to make a name for himself as a composer.

4 - Music Lament for Brass Trio - (07:37)

- Moderato - Lento-tranquillo - Playfully

(1981) - This work was composed for my group the Renaissance Brass Trio and premiered on the trumpet player's doctoral recital at the Catholic University in Washington, DC. We also played it on my Faculty Recital at Hampton University (VA).

This is the recording of the premiere at Catholic University on Stephen Carlson's DMA Recital.

Published by TAP Music Sales.

5 - Music Reflections for Trombone Trio - (04:52)

This is the premiere performance on a Tidewater Composers Guild Concert held at Hampton University in Virginia. It was recently recovered from the original reel-to-reel recording via computer.

Published by TAP Music Sales.

6 - Music Thru a Glass Darkly (String Orchestra) - (03:46)

(1984) - The Kansas City String Orchestra (an amateur ensemble) gave the premiere in 1985. Hugh Brown, Principal Second Violinist of the Kansas City Symphony, was the conductor and included my other string orchestra work on the program. Originally a work for hand bell choir, I composed it in response to the sudden death of my first stepmother Bernice. When the hand bell choir at the Westminster Presbyterian Church (where I was choir director at the time) read through it they had some difficulties! I immediately reworked it for string orchestra and also another version for trombone choir.

Performed by the Ashiya Chamber Orchestra in Japan in November 1999.

Published by Harmonic Services Group.

7 - Music Maskil for Alto Trombone and Piano - (04:00)

(1984) - This piece was composed for the 1984 Midwestern Trombone Workshop at the University of Kansas. I performed the premiere with Lori Parsons, pianist (wife of a fellow doctoral student who was also a trombonist). The title comes from the Psalms as a subtitle that is an expression of praise but is not specific in its form. This was my first published work by Modern Editions, run by then trombone professor Stephen Anderson. He performed the piece rather extensively while on tour in Eastern Europe. M. Dee Stuart, Professor of Trombone at Indiana University, has since performed it on tour in this country.

Published by Modern Editions.

8 - Music Threnody for Trombone Choir - (05:32)

(1984) - This was also composed for the 1984 Midwestern Trombone Workshop and is heard here with the Faculty under my direction as conductor. University trombone choirs throughout this country have since performed it.

Published by Nichols Music Company.

9 - Music Thru a Glass Darkly (Trombone Choir) - (03:51)

(1984) - This is a reading at a rehearsal of the University of Kansas Trombone Choir with Dr. Stephen Anderson, Director.

Published by TAP Music Sales.

10 - Music Three Songs of Praise - (05:14)

- Alleluia - Psalm 100 - Worship

(1979) - I composed this work for Linda, coloratura soprano, David Hall, horn, and myself, trombone. The premiere performance heard here is on my Faculty Recital at Hampton University where I taught in Virginia. (NOTE: Linda wants a disclaimer that she sings better than this, now 20 years later!)

Published by TAP Music Sales.

11 - Music Song of Ascents for Brass Sextet - (05:46)

This work was also premiered at Hampton University by my student brass ensemble that I wrote it for. This performance dates from 1989 with my brass ensemble at Centre College in Danville, KY.

Published by TAP Music Sales.

12 - Music Lamentation for Trombone Choir - (09:45)

I composed this piece in 1985 after the death of my conducting professor at the University of Kansas (Dr. George Lawner). The premiere was by the North Texas State Trombone Choir under the direction of Dr. Royce Lumpkin. This work has also been performed widely in the United States.

Published by Nichols Music Company.

13 - Music Chasm for Orchestra - (07:48)

Composed in 1983 during my first summer at the University of Kansas as a doctoral student, this piece is partly a response to my separation from my family. I used two hymn tunes in the texture - "Be Thou My Vision" and J.S. Bach's favorite, "Jesu, Meine Freude". This performance is a read through in a rehearsal of the Lawrence (KS) Chamber Players that I conducted. Later I premiered this piece with a community group, the Olathe (KS) Symphony but no tape was made from the concert.

Published by Harmonic Services Group.

14 - Music Crucifixus for Brass Ensemble - (08:35)

(1990) - I composed this work for my students in the Brass Ensemble at Centre College in Danville, KY. Two melodies are incorporated - again "Jesu, Meine Freude" and one from my own choral work "An Easter Offering". This was the last work I composed. Since that time I have only had the time to squeeze out arrangements, mostly for my church choir at Camas United Methodist Church.

Published by TAP Music Sales.

15 - Music Prism - (07:01)

This was my second orchestral work composed for a concert with works of the members of the Tidewater Composers Guild. (The first was the string orchestra piece "In the Similitude of a Dream".) I conducted this premiere performance with the Odyssey Chamber Ensemble (my own group) along with 7 other new works. The style is much more radical partly as a result of a reviewer's comment on my string piece as not being contemporary enough! Amusingly he did not review this work, so I'll never know if he approved or not! It has not been performed since and this recording was also recently retrieved from the reel-to-reel tape master.

Published by Harmonic Services Group.

The following 3 music files (16, 17, 18) are in MP3 format.

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16 - Elegy for String Orchestra - (12:24)

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(2001) - Elegy for Strings was premiered in Japan on November 25th, 2001. It took place at Asahi Hall, Kobe, Japan, with a good audience of 350 people out of 500 seats.

Info on the work is as follows:

Performed by members of Ashiya Chamber Orchestra.

Music Director and Conductor: Mutsuo Sakai.

1st Violin:
Yasuo (Jack) Torimaru, Concertmaster
Takuya Abe
Seiichi Sampei
Chieko Fukunaga
Junichi Harima
Kyoko Fujimoto ( on leave)

2nd Violin:
Seiichi Fukunaga, Principal
Nanae Kodama
Ryo Aoyagi
Mieko Kurokawa

Kenichi Kono, Principal
Ryuichi Ouchi
Kuniko Nakata
Kumiko Takemura

Naoko Torimaru, Principal
Haruo Miyazaki
Toshio Nakai

Kazuo Nakata, Principal

Published by Harmonic Services Group.

17 - Quid Enim? - (06:12)

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(2001) - Quid Enim began as a discussion on a tour of Chin in June of 2001 by the Clark College Jazz Ensemble and Women's Choral Ensemble. April Duvic, Director of the Women's Choral Ensemble, invited her long time friend Staci Swedeen to accompany us on the trip. During that time I shared with her my idea for a work for the ensemble as well as my ideas for a text. Being an accomplished writer, Staci sent me one of her poems that she dashed off after returning home. I then sent her a text of my own and she also listened to my previous works on my website. Her next poem became the basis for the text of this work. It focuses on the word shy in many different languages. The title itself means "why" in Latin and is used as a rhetorical or philosophical question.

Here is a list of the languages used in her poem:

Pour Quoi - French
Naze - Japanese
Pa chemu - Russian
La maaza - Arabic
Varfor- Swedish
Karichinay - Tibetan
Perche - Italian
Warum - German
Porque - Spanish
Hvor for - Danish
Huawi - Vietnamese
Dla czego - Polish
Neden - Turkish
Hver vegna - Icelandic
Weishenmel - Chinese

Not all were used in this musical composition; those chosen had particular vowel sounds. The word why appear first in its phoneticized version of the syllables oo-ah-ee. This is later compressed to wah-ee and finally as the word why.

I am deeply indebted to Staci for what I consider a striking poem and also her encouragement to me as I was composing this work. Therefore I include her poem here because it deserves a place with the music.

Quid Enim?
(The Eternal Question)

Pour Quoi

Can time move so slowly so fast?

Pa chemu
Le maaza

Can love disappear or last?


Is the distance suddenly so near?

Why are my parents reflected in the mirror?


Is the night filled with doubt?
Then, with you beside me, the stars come out?

Hvor for
Dla czego

This hunger?
What's this longing for?


Is there something more?

Hver vegna

When these questions stretch for mile after mile

Why do you smile, love? Why do you smile?

18 - Who Shall Know? - (02:19)

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(1978) - This work for SATB a cappella choir was composed in Hampton, VA in 1978. I was an Instructor of Music at Hampton Institute, a four-year liberal arts college. The inspiration came after a choir concert. Unfortunately my work was too difficult for them to sing. I arranged it for brass quartet and performed that version with colleagues from the Virginia Symphony. This premiere performance is from a concert in Krefeld, Germany on November 30, 2002. Pavel Brochin conducts the Audienda Choir. I meet him at the Oregon Bach Festival in 1992 when we were both part of Helmut Rilling's Master Class in Choral-Orchestral Conducting.

The text is as follows:

Who shall know the face of God?
Who shall know the voice of the living God?
Who shall know Him when He comes to Earth,
And will He find faith or failure?
Know the Lord while He may be found;
For your life is but a breath!
Seek His face today!
But who shall know His voice?
Who shall know His face?

Published by TAP Music Sales.

All Music copyright © 1979-2005 by Donald L. Appert. All rights reserved.

You can E-Mail Don Appert at :

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