Trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden Releasing Debut Album, Will Perform Two Shows in Philly

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One listen to Mary Elizabeth Bowden‘s music and it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the type of trumpet you muddled with in middle school band. The Curtis Institute of Music graduate and world-renowned artist is releasing her first album, Radiance, this April, which features the works of two local Philadelphia composers: Joseph Hallman and David Ludwig. She also will be playing two Philly concerts in early March with an all-female brass ensemble, Seraph Brass.

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Penn Employee Asks University to Reconsider Hosting Anti-Gay Red Cross Blood Drive

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University of Pennsylvania Administrative Coordinator Joseph Hallman was taken back when he received an email from the Penn Professional Staff Assembly (PPSA) announcing that Red Cross would be holding a blood drive on campus. The reason? The Red Cross excludes gay men from donating blood, a touchy topic as the FDA recently endorsed a lifetime gay blood ban. In response to the University’s announcement, Hallman composed an email to the chair of PPSA, expressing his concerns regarding the discriminatory practices of the Red Cross: Read more »

Man Crush Monday: Natalie Hope McDonald

Every week, Philly gay gents share their local picks for Man Crush Monday. This week, G Philly matriarch, local journalist and fine artist Natalie Hope McDonald. 

Last Five Man Crush Mondays:

Man Crush Monday: Joseph Hallman

Every week, Philly gay gents share their local picks for Man Crush Monday. This week, Grammy-nominated composer Joseph Hallman. His work has been featured both at home and abroad. When not writing or travelling, He works at University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater, and teaches at Drexel. He believes heartily in the continued development of Philly’s arts and cultures market. He is also decidedly single.

Last Five Man Crush Mondays:

Young Philly Composer Nominated for a Grammy

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When Joseph Hallman was a child, his mother would tell him that he was so open-minded that his brain would fall out.

Thankfully that never happened, and years later it may be that very open-mindedness that the Philly-based composer can credit for much of his success, including the recent news that his album, Sprung Rhythm, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy in the Best Surround Sound Album category. And get this, among the five albums up for the award are works crediting Paul McCartney and Les Claypool.

Even before his Grammy nomination, the 34-year-old had been touted for his wide scope of work: In 2011, NPR named him one of the top 100 Composers Under 40. Major companies, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Pittsburgh Symphony have played his compositions. And sensing greatness long before the nominations were revealed, The Washington Post called Hallman’s work on Sprung Rhythm “skillful” and claimed that he was a composer “to watch.” 

So what inspires the young songster? “Anything and everything,” he says. His list of influencers includes everyone from Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. and modern composer Nico Muhly to American Horror Story. (He recently composed a piece of music inspired by his fascination with witches and the television show.)

Hallman sees music as being part of who he is, that there’s a self-awareness in his compositions he calls “organic.”

“My music is me,” he says. Indeed, this might be the best way to describe Hallman’s philosophy on music-making. In a world of pop-star generators like American Idol and The Voice, his approach to cranking out tunes is refreshingly simple:  “Just be yourself.”

Sprung Rhythm is available for purchase on iTunes.  You can follow Joseph Hallman on Twitter: @HallmanComposer.