News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Metro RTA

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


World premiere Friday night in Knoxville for Akron composer's trumpet concerto
Professor Daniel McCarthy's 'Tao of Infinity' is a Doc Severinsen International Competition winner
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Daniel McCarthy, a winner of the International Doc Severinsen Competition, heads the Composition Section at the University of Akron School of Music
Courtesy of Courtesy of the University of Akron
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Tomorrow night at the University of Tennessee trumpets will blare for a University of Akron professor.

It’ll be the world premiere of "Tao of Infinity," Daniel McCarthy’s trumpet concerto, a winner of the Doc Severinsen International Composition Contest.

WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports it’s the latest honor in a career that encompasses rock, jazz, pop, fusion and funk as well as contemporary classical music.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (5:24)


 

“I’m a composer and martial artist. That’s what I do. Oh, I guess I’m a teacher. I’m a professor, too.”  

Daniel McCarthy's a third-degree black belt Taekwondo master who chairs the composition and theory departments at the University of Akron School of Music.

But today he’s happy at home near Highland Square, in his basement studio. 

“Down here, I write and record my dance music, pop stuff. Actually it’s called funk. It’s kind of a hybrid of rock and jazz. I just have a blast down here.” 

Hundreds of contemporary classical compositions
McCarthy has composed hundreds of serious pieces for symphony orchestra, symphonic band, and chamber groups.

"Rimbasly," an early composition for marimba and synthesizer, commissioned in 1989 by one of the world’s leading percussion soloists, Michael Burritt of the Eastman School of Music, still sells about a hundred copies a year.

New Music Connoisseur magazine describes McCarthy’s style as “contemporary in the best sense of the word.” He’s the founder of the American New Music Festival and the Midwest Composers’ Forum.

Not an elitist, just a music lover
But if there’s still elitism in classical music, don’t blame Dan McCarthy.

He still values the music he turned on to as a teenager. That was in the late 60s.

“Beatles, Beach Boys, Jackson 5, all that stuff is happening. It was very important when I was in junior high to be cool, have your hair in your eyes, listen to the right kind of music, like what everybody else liked.”   

He did, while also listening to opera. 

“I have been so in love with music since my first memory hearing my mom sing some Verdi.”  

His mother once studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

But growing up in Bay City, Michigan, it was his older brothers, now arts professionals, too, who first introduced him to Mahler, Stravinsky and Shostakovich.  

“I’m not going to speak disparagingly about Bay City, but at the time it was kind of a cultural wasteland. And here I am being 9 and 10 and listening to Shostakovich and loving it and not knowing I was listening to anything that might be considered sophisticated. Led Zeppelin was exciting. Jimmy Paige’s guitar solos were exciting. And Shostakovich was exciting. I didn’t know the difference.”

Interlochen changed his life
While still in junior high he won a scholarship to spend the summer at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy. He went on to attend high school at Interlochen.

The first day there he found a new love: jazz.   

“The first thing that I heard was their jazz band with this great young drummer by the name of Peter Erskine, one of the great drummers of our time. And at that time he was 16. These were kids, a bunch of high school kids playing like professionals. And I just remember my jaw dropping to the floor. And I was hooked.”  

Hooked, too, on his favorite instrument. 

"My original wish was to become a symphony trumpet player.”   

But John Lindenau, his teacher, now his best friend and the dedicatee of his trumpet concerto, forced him to confront a harsh reality.   

“I didn’t have the consistency to win an audition. When I went to college that became clear to me. However, I just wouldn’t give up. I became quite interested in jazz, made myself a lead trumpet player, started playing jingles, couple film scores, lots of club dates, lots of record dates.”     

Living loud as a lead trumpet player
He discovered he had the right kind of ego to play lead trumpet.  

“Fearless, macho man, even though I was kind of a runty, little, scrawny short guy, I had the short guy type of attitude. I was very feisty.” 

He was known for playing high and loud, and he did it with some of the best.  

“The Temptations, Spinners, Four Tops, Donnie Iris, B.E. Taylor Group, Spyro Gyra, Kool and the Gang.”  

After graduating from Kent State University in 1978 with a degree in music theory, McCarthy spent four years playing pop, rock, funk and jazz and composing jingles for, among others, the Cleveland Indians, Burger King and Channel 43.

Life on the road not so glamorous
But by 1982 life in clubs, studios and motel rooms had lost its allure. He was constantly on the road, touring with his younger brother David in The McCarthy Band.  

“And we starved to death and we drank ourselves to death. I was ready to give it all up when that was over with. And that was my last experience, which kind of catapulted me back into classical music.”  

He returned to his studies, earning a master’s degree at the University of Akron and then his doctorate at Kent State.

There he made what he now considers the mistake of getting too academic in his compositions, too far away from his early pop culture influences.

Tough lesson but a good one
He learned a hard lesson at Kent from guest composer Sydney Hodkinson.

After listening to his 2nd string quartet, Hodkinson told McCarthy that he had technique, but no personal language. 

“And he started to talk with me about my life, about Interlochen and how much I loved Northern Michigan. He didn’t say anything for a while, and he looked at me and said, ‘The next time I hear your music, I want to hear the music of the boy from Bay City.”

Doc Severinsen must have heard that boy.

In awarding McCarthy’s trumpet concerto what he called a close second place in his contest, Severinsen said it has “great melodies.”

The 'Tao of Infinity's' world premier tonight in Tennessee will feature soloist Vincent DiMartino, former lead trumpet for Lionel Hampton and Chuck Mangione.

Composer Daniel McCarthy’s been nominated for a Grammy, has won six Ohio Arts Council Excellence Awards among other national and international awards .

Doc will be in Knoxville to shake his hand
But this latest one means a lot to a boy from Bay City who grew up listening to The Tonight Show band.   

“Doc Severinsen was a consummate artist. He was an improviser. He was a lead trumpet player, and he was a classical trumpet player. But the thing that really made me write this piece was Doc put in the guidelines: ‘Must have a melody.' And I understood exactly what he was saying. He didn’t want academic speak. He wanted someone who really knew how to write lyric melody. And I can do that.” 

Daniel McCarthy will be in the audience tomorrow night in Knoxville for his concerto’s world premiere.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

An amendment to an Ohio agriculture bill may kill whole bill
I hope the Gov. sticks to his veto, Att takes more out of this state than it puts in.

From warehouse to writer: Terry Pluto's Thanksgiving thank you
Dear Terry: On my 8th cup of coffee trying to get Thanksgiving "Brunch" done ahead of time because I work nights. However, I just had to stop to contact yo...

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University