THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

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Interview

Celebrating Conductor Anton Armstrong’s 30 Years with the St. Olaf Choir

The renowned St. Olaf Choir in Minnesota had to be creative when it was looking for ways to mark its conductor’s 30th year of...

An Inside Look at Choral Music with Composer Elizabeth Alexander

When composer Elizabeth Alexander first experienced choral music, what she heard on stage was predominantly classical. Over the past few decades she has thrived...

An Interview with Sacred Music Composer Tom Trenney

Upon meeting Tom Trenney, one can’t help but notice that there is something special about him. His calm spirit, nonjudgmental loving manner, high intelligence,...

The Influence of Jazz: Resources for Your Students

Jazz Appreciation Month may not have gotten as much attention this April as in years past, but there are certainly no time constraints on...

Careers in Music: Composing, Conducting, Teaching and Performing

The Pepper team has had the opportunity to interview many amazing musicians about their careers. We’ve rolled up some of our favorite clips about different...

How Dave Matthews Band’s Jeff Coffin Made It Big by Being Prepared

Internationally known for his saxophone playing and improvisational prowess, Jeff Coffin is also a composer, educator, and author. When not on stage with the...

John Rutter: A Lifetime of Surprises and Choral Magic (New Interview)

World-renowned English composer John Rutter says it can be lovely when a conductor surprises him with a different take on one of his pieces....

Choral Legend Alice Parker: Sharing Her Works, Teaching Tips & More

Many choir directors today have fond memories of the times they have worked on arrangements by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw. Who could help but admire...

Getting Published: A Composer Forum, Part III

One of the most exciting moments for a composer can be when they first receive word a piece they’ve written will be published. That...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Bob Chilcott

Arranger, composer, conductor, and performer – Bob Chilcott has played every part of the musical process. His choir music is sung around the world...

From Wacky to Serious: The Many Sides of Composer Mark Burrows

Duct tape, angry piñatas, healing, determination – all of these diverse topics and more are covered by choral composer Mark Burrows in his pieces....

Composing for the Student Ensemble: A Composer Forum, Part II

Composers have many considerations when creating pieces for student ensembles. Among other things, they have to ensure their works have the right balance of...

Writing Educational Music: A Composer Forum, Part I

Part I: A Composer’s Journey Behind every piece of music there is a story – an experience or creative idea so strong it had to...

An Interview with Composer Sarah Quartel

Choral composer Sarah Quartel grew up in a household filled with music. Whether it was her mother singing Italian arias in the kitchen or...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Larry Clark

Larry Clark is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 300 publications in print. For over 20 years, he has been a much sought-after composer,...

Randy Vader: Choirs Doing More Than Just Singing

As CEO of PraiseGathering Music Group, Randy Vader has vast experience in the sacred music publishing business as a writer and composer, and with...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mac Huff

Mac Huff is one of the most prolific pop music arrangers for publisher Hal Leonard, and his work is performed by hundreds of ensembles...

Patrick Hawes: Creating Works for Radio and Royalty

The grandeur of Carnegie Hall is a far cry from where composer Patrick Hawes began his musical education. In a small English coastal town,...

The Women in the Brass Section: How They Found Success

Trombonist Amanda Stewart compares it to a slow-moving glacier – the gradual acceptance of talented women playing brass instruments in the United States’ most...

Composer Rollo Dilworth: Remembering Moses Hogan

March 13th marked the 62nd birthday of late composer and musical pioneer Moses Hogan. He is considered a pioneer of the modern spiritual, bringing...

John Mackey’s Unusual Path to Composing Success

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, composer John Mackey grew up without formal music lessons. Though his mother played the flute and the family owned a piano,...

Creating Virtual Choir 5 for “Deep Field”

July 2020 Update: Eric Whitacre's latest project - Virtual Choir 6  - is now available online and you can view the sheet music for...

Unveiling a Replica of the Washington Family Harpsichord

In February, we celebrate past presidents and their contributions to our national identity. The legacies of our past leaders are played out in history...

An Interview with Composer Ola Gjeilo

Ola Gjeilo began composing before he could even read music. When he was a child in Skui, Norway, just outside of Oslo, he taught...

An Interview with Choreographer John Jacobson

Music, for many, is about joy before anything else. Spend a few short minutes with conductor, composer, and choreographer John Jacobson, and it will...

Roll Out the Accordion – Polka Music and Oktoberfest

Alex Meixner’s hands fly across his accordion when he plays crowd favorites at Oktoberfest celebrations across the country. The talented musician, who is known...

An Interview with a Cappella Guru Deke Sharon

It was at a television station in San Francisco, California, where Deke Sharon realized how far his work in a cappella music had reached....

Classical Crossover Band Inspires Students

Two worlds collided for cellist Nicole Myers as she traveled back to her Pennsylvania high school to give a performance as a professional musician....

Lesser-Known Stories About Leonard Bernstein: A Museum Tour

A large wall photo at a Philadelphia exhibition shows Leonard Bernstein during one of the most poignant days of his life – a day...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Concertmaster David Kim

David Kim paused after playing a few exquisite bars of music on his Italian violin. The concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra seemed concerned that...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Cristi Miller

Teaching middle school tends to be “the road less traveled” for many new music educators. Sometimes this can be due to a lack of...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Roger Emerson

When browsing the choral sheet music collections of any music educator, one might be struck by the wide range of styles and themes present...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Tracy Harris

A musician cannot learn without a great teacher, but even the best teachers can't be experts on every instrument. It can be challenging for...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Colonel John R. Bourgeois

Nothing rouses the spirit like a march, and few bands can capture the patriotic fervor of an American march like the United States Marine...

The Inside Voice: Collaborating on a Special Choral Recording

In an age where it seems easy to make an amateur recording with electronic devices, the process of collaborating on a professionally produced choral album...

Music In Our Schools Month: American Young Voices

Over a period of two years, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has strengthened its partnership with an exciting program that is building...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Michael John Trotta

Clinician, conductor, and composer Michael John Trotta is one of the bright young minds of modern choral music. His work has been performed at...

The Inside Voice: A Composer Roundtable from ‘The Joy of Singing’

This past summer, Pepper had the pleasure of hosting four of the nation’s top clinicians for a recent Joy of Singing workshop. While they...

Edition Peters: Bringing Sheet Music to the Masses

Great music tells a great story. Be it the story of a moment, the story of a feeling, or the story of a generation,...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Amanda Jane Cooper

It is hard to match the magic of musical theater, and when the show in question happens to be the smash hit Wicked, magic...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Greg Gilpin

Music education is a pivotal part of keeping our culture alive, and the teachers who carry out this mission need the support of other...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Craig Courtney

For composer Craig Courtney, music has been a lifelong pursuit. He began picking up melodies on the piano at the age of three, and...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Rollo Dilworth

Rollo Dilworth is a master of the modern spiritual. Growing up in St. Louis and singing in both school and church choirs, Dilworth learned...

Reading Sessions: The Shortcut to Your Success

For the past few months, the Pepper editors have listened to mountains of music to find the best choices for our Pepper Live events,...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Andy Beck

A prolific composer of choral music, Andy Beck has written hundreds of works, vocal resource books, and children’s musicals. Among his most famous works...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Keith Getty

Keith Getty burst onto the scene in 2001 with In Christ Alone, a modern hymn that quickly became a staple of Christian worship services....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Eric Whitacre

The name Eric Whitacre is sure to turn heads anywhere musicians gather. While he is a composer of choral music first, his wide range of...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mary Lynn Lightfoot

Mary Lynn Lightfoot’s musical life started in the town of Canton, Missouri, where she began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Lloyd Larson

Standing in the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, it is not difficult to see how the beauty of religious devotion can inspire...

To All Lovers of Song and Music: A Pepper Legacy Film

The American centennial was an exciting time for the nation. Cities and towns bustled with new industry and a brighter outlook replaced the bleak...

Meeting the Minds Behind the Music

Listening to a master speak about their craft is one of the most enlightening experiences one can have. That was the thinking behind Pepper’s...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Brian Balmages

Composer Brian Balmages’ sheet music can be found in music rooms across the nation. He has written music for every skill level from very easy to advanced....

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Julia Kamanda

If you have not yet had the pleasure to hear Julia Kamanda speak about classroom music, composition, and education, you are missing out on...

The Inside Voice: The U.S. Army Brass Quintet

With the nation’s birthday approaching, it is appropriate to celebrate the men and women of the United States military, without whom we would not...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Joel Raney

No discussion of sacred and church choral music is complete without including the works of composer Joel Raney. Raney’s contribution to sacred music is...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Wynn-Anne Rossi is known to the music world as a talented pianist, dynamic composer, and dedicated music educator. Throughout her life, she has combined...

It’s Just… Music! An Interview with Paquito D’Rivera

Pepper had the privilege to speak with Latin jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera in conjunction with his latest honor. We were asked by the Jazz...

Jazz With Pepper Hosts David Liebman

On September 10, 2015, Pepper welcomed world-renowned saxophonist David Liebman, the latest music legend to take part in our Jazz with Pepper master class...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Dan Forrest

Dan Forrest is a man who believes “all good things, including any beauty that we encounter, are from God, through God, and ultimately to...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Paul Mealor

On the cusp of 40, Paul Mealor has already built a legacy of musical excellence. His journey started at the young age of 10...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Kim André Arnesen

Kim André Arnesen is one of today’s most promising young choral composers. As a child growing up in Norway, Arnesen developed a love for...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Mark Hayes

Known to be one of the most versatile composers and arrangers of our time, Mark Hayes is popular with both worship and secular choirs....

Granting Three Wishes – The Schoener MusicMan Camp

A love of making music is ingrained in the culture of not only our nation, but the entire world. The evidence of that can...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Sharon Burch

Sharon Burch has always been passionate about music education, especially for elementary-age students. From a young age, she loved music and wanted to bring...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Joseph Martin

Joseph Martin is one of the most influential composers in sacred music today. His music has graced countless congregations and led many to consider with...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Heather Sorenson

As part of our ongoing series of interviews, Pepper had the opportunity to sit down with arranger and composer Heather Sorenson. A church pianist...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with James Jordan

Look at any extensive library of musical literature and you will see not one, but many books by James Jordan. No writer is more...

J.W. Pepper and the Birth of the Sousaphone

On the field, in the stands, or on the street, the Sousaphone is one of the most recognizable instruments in the world. Now a...

14,000 Pipes, 90 Years: A Tour of the Austin Organ

Pepper's own Rocco Richardson had a chance to speak to Scott Fredericks, minister of music at St. Matthew Lutheran about their famous Austin organ,...

Pat Martino: Here and Now

When hearing about the prospect of meeting and interviewing Pat Martino, all we could think about here at Pepper was how much we love...

Six Essential Videos for Roger Ingram Fans

Here we have a fantastic selection of videos from Pepper's interview with jazz trumpet legend Roger Ingram.  Listen to Ingram talk about his new...

John Rutter: The Importance of Choir

Listen as composer John Rutter delves deeply into the importance of choir in all aspects of life.  He shares his own love of music...

A Glimpse at Tracy Harris’ Flute Boot Camp

Here is your chance to take a sneak peek at Tracy Harris’ Flute Boot Camp.  Pepper has compiled seven videos that take you inside Tracy's...

Jazz With Pepper Hosts Pat Martino

On Wednesday, February 11th, the Jazz With Pepper series continued with a visit from guitar legend Pat Martino.  Eager musicians of all ages filled the...

Meet Debra Reilly: Grammy Music Educator Award Finalist

Recently, Pepper had the privilege to speak with Debra Reilly, a 2015 Grammy nominee for the Music Educator Award.  Ms. Reilly teaches and directs the string programs for Springhouse and Orefield...

John Rutter on Christmas

When you hear the name John Rutter, your mind automatically jumps to the thought of Christmas music.  What makes Rutter's name so synonymous with Christmas?  We...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with John Rutter

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Rutter and discuss his forthcoming Anniversary Editions series, published by Oxford University Press and...

An Interview with Daniel Elder

On April 25, 2013 we welcomed Alec Harris from GIA Publications to our Pennsylvania office.  Alec presented GIA’s new choral releases, which included two...

Band Composer Series: Frank Ticheli

I recently had the honor of interviewing composer and teacher Frank Ticheli. In addition to composing, he joined the faculty of the University of...

Band Composer Series: Garwood Whaley

Looking back on my high school and college percussion studies, I recall working through many of Garwood Whaley’s books.  I particularly liked working with Recital...

Choral Conversations — Greg Gilpin

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too, and we are sharing what we found out!

Band Composer Series: Sean O’Loughlin

Sean O’Loughlin is a rising name in the music world.  His music is characterized by vibrant rhythms, passionate melodies, and colorful scoring. Commissions and conducting...

Raise Your Hands – A Conversation with Heather Sorenson

Heather Sorenson was born in Illinois and lived in a number of places throughout her childhood, finally settling in the beautiful city of Dallas,...

Key People: Interview with Wynn-Anne Rossi

Crystal Desch and I had the honor of interviewing Wynn-Anne Rossi, and we think you'll find her as we did, an inspirational composer, pianist and...

Band Composer Series: Larry Clark

Larry Clark's pieces have been performed internationally and appear on numerous contest/festival lists.  He  is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 200 titles in...

Choral Conversations: Dan Forrest

Are you familiar with Good Night, Dear Heart or perhaps You Are the Music? If you are interested in choral music, you should be!...

Key People: Robert Vandall, Part 1

Crystal Desch and I recently interviewed Robert D. Vandall by phone.  Robert Vandall is one of this country's most prolific and popular composers of educational...

Band Composer Series: Michael Sweeney

A graduate of Indiana University (Bloomington), and Director of Band Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Michael Sweeney has over 500 publications...

Band Composer Series: Brian Balmages

An active composer, conductor and performer, Brian Balmages' fresh style of composition has put him in high demand for his wind, brass and orchestral...

Band Composer Series: Robert Sheldon

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Sheldon, Concert Band Editor for Alfred Music Publishing, and was able to gain some insight into the...

Choral Conversations: Mary McDonald

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Mary McDonald, a multi-talented musician from Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to her work as a composer, arranger, producer,...

Choral Conversations: Joel Raney

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too, and we are sharing what we have learned!

Choral Conversations — Sally Albrecht

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite composers? We did too! And we are sharing what we have learned.

Choral Conversations: Mary Lynn Lightfoot

Mary Lynn Lightfoot is the Choral Editor for Heritage Music Press, a composer, an educator and an extremely funny woman. She has over 230 published...