In 1996 I was asked by Roger Zahab–new music’s greatest friend–to compose a piece for the University of Pittsburgh Orchestra. The result was The Three Rivers Overture. After its spring premiere, Roger decided it would make a good piece for Pitt’s graduation. In fact, he used it for a number of years after that–maybe even still uses it.
Here’s a funny anecdote about money and music. At my graduation from Pitt, I got paid to play my bass in the orchestra, got paid to hire other musicians to fill out some sections, and got royalties on The Three Rivers Overture. The latter was the greatest source of revenue, because BMI calculates royalties based on number of instruments (full orch), length of piece (over 6 minutes) and number of people in audience (about 20,000). I was very pleased when I opened up my BMI check that year. The sad thing is that BMI changed their rules, so they no longer pay royalties on events–only concerts. So my source of easy money dried up…
The good news is that a new piece was born, even though it’s no longer a money maker.
The Three Rivers Overture, mp3 (performed by the Pitt orchestra)