Carl MaultsBy has written Abuelas, Nanas and Grandmamas Unsung for Quintet of the America’s Memory Project. This commissioned work is based on interviews by the composer with seniors during his visits with them at Elm-Cor Senior Center in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York.
Others works that are part of the project are Music for Bayside by Lembit Beecher who worked with seniors at Bayside Senior Center and Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin’s Dancing Lullaby, the product of his timewith seniors at the Salvation Army in Jackson Heights. More about the project and composers at http://www.quintet.org/.
1. When did you first realize you were a composer?
Back in elementary school I would try to create songs. But it wasn't until I received the Harvard University Fromm Music Commission that I realized that I actually was a composer.
2. Who were some of your early influences? Who are some of your current influences?
Some of my early influences were J. S. Bach, Paul Hindemith, Aaron Copland and Norman Whitfield.
3. How has your music evolved over the past few years?
I focus more on the philosophy of the "economy of ideas." With the fewest themes or motifs, I try to make the largest compositions possible.
4. What is your favorite type of ensemble to compose for?
Soli vocals, choir with orchestra.
5. Tell us about Abuelas, Nanas, and Grandmamas Unsung, and something of how it was created. What was it like listening to the stories of the residents of Elm-Cor Senior Center and being part of the Memory Project?
The stories of the residents of Elm-Cor had a similar thread: they weren't always "grandmothers." They had mothers, they had children, they had lives, but most of all they had faith.
6. Did images from the seniors’ stories suggest the music or vice versa? How important is narrative in your music?
The main themes of "Abuelas, Nanas and Grandmamas Unsung" are metric transformations of melodies suggested by the seniors, in particular, "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art."
7. Given how important the sacred is in your music, are there any elements of the sacred in Abuelas, Nanas, and Grandmamas Unsung?
Yes, as I answered in the foregoing the main themes are transformations of sacred melodies. The third section actually quotes the hymn tune "Martyrdom" composed in either the late 18th or early 19th century by Hugh Wilson.
8. How did you meet Quintet of the Americas?
I believe I first met QA hornist Barbara Oldham when we served together as panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts. Then through a joint project with the Queens Symphony Orchestra Arts in Education program under the direction of Karen Fitzgerald, the Quintet and my group, Rejoicensemble performed a series of concerts. I arranged my first woodwind quintet "Still Rockin' in Jerusalem" for QA.
9. Given your background in the recording business, do you have any plans to record this or your other recent music?
I'm trying to persuade Quintet of the Americas to make a compilation recording of the four or more compositions I wrote for them.
10. What does the future hold for Carl MaultsBy? Is there a sort of dream project that you would like to be able to create?
I have several large scale works on the drawing board: an opera, a musical and a symphony. Completing, recording and seeing a performance of all three would be my dream project.
Composer, arranger, conductor, organist, keyboardist, singer, author, Carl MaultsBy, is a contemporary "renaissance artist" whose talents have been utilized both in the commercial media of musical theatre, film, television, records, and in the cultural media as well. He received the Doctor of Fine Arts degree (honoris causa) and the Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Music from Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, as well as the Masters of Music degree in Jazz/Commercial Composition from Manhattan School of Music where he studied composition with Richard DeRosa and film scoring with Ed Green.
Visit Carl MaultsBy at his site www.carlmaultsby.net and at the RejoiceEnsemble’s site at www.rejoicensemblenyc.net.
Carl MaultsBy’s appearances with the Quintet of the Americas are funded in part through Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program.
Leadership support for Meet the Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program is generously provided by MetLife Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Amphion Foundation, Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, BMI Foundation, Inc., Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Jerome Foundation, mediaThe foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Virgil Thomson Foundation, Ltd.