About Douglas Pew and Blue Shore Music

Blue Shore Music is a resource started by me, Douglas Pew, to provide you with music that inspires, excites, uplifts and energizes your audience or congregation. But what makes great music?

 

 

But First, Who is Douglas Pew?

I'm a family guy in my late thirites with five beautiful children. I'm what my wife calls a "hyper-music-nerd" and proud of it! Like many people, my career path has taken some twists and turns. 

I graduated from an excellent doctoral program in music composition at the University of Cincinnati and went on to get a post-doctorate at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland as a Fulbright Scholar. 

I came home and began teaching at a local University and my composition career started to take off. After four years of teaching, I was let go and had to make some quick decisions about the future. My brother-in-law offered me a job with his company doing some Online Marketing. Since March 2015 I've been an online marketer by day and a composer and conductor by night.

 
 

What Is My Idea of Great Music?

This is a loaded and often complicated question. For me, great music elicits powerful emotions in its listeners. With melody and harmony and tambre and soundscape architecture, it takes the listener on a magical journey. It allows them to escape into a personal Neverland of imagination and experience the deep emotions that lie at the foundation of their soul but are so often ignored in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

 
 

Why Do I Compose? For Whom Do I Compose?

I compose because of a burning inner desire to express deep things. Things that cannot be expressed with words alone. The kind of deep things that can only be understood on a profound subterranean soul level. And I compose because I'm absolutely and hopelessly addicted to the rush, the thrill, the pure ecstatic joy the expression of music, through my own personal chemistry, gives me.

I compose for those who yearn, for those who are looking for more than a basic, static existence in life. For those who feel, and feel deeply. For those who, though it may take some coaxing, are able to listen and open themselves in both mind and heart to a pure and celestial kind of communication that can be found in music. 

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Often I compose for churches. It brings me great joy to be useful as a composer. I find that I am often most useful to a church choir who wishes to encourage or inspire their congregation. As composer-in-residence at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, OH, I have the regular duty and thrill to provide music for communion, for grand entrances, and for other important parts of their services. 

I love to compose for opera and orchestral audiences. I'm constantly amazed at how the concert hall or theater can be transformed into a type of church, a place of other-worldly communication between the performers and the audience can and often does exist. 

In other words, I write to be useful and to provide something inspiring or uplifting for the hungry listener.

 

Official Biography

American composer Douglas Pew (b. 1980) is noted for his ability to strike at the root of the emotional world through his music “with a showman’s touch and a poet’s soul, letting it take flight” (Jake Heggie, Moby Dick). His music has been heralded as “stunning…magical” (Washington Times) and “sensual, other-worldly, expressive and showcasing a rich harmonic pallet, sure to connect with audiences, while saying something fresh, profound and meaningful” (The Pianist's Craft Vol. 2).

His 1-hour chamber opera ‘Penny’ premiered by Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center to wide acclaim. “Penny simply works, not because we should like it, but because it has a story to tell. The different levels of musical characterization were far more than merely evocative, and they succeeded on a dramatic as well as a musical level” (Washington Post). 

Douglas has received multiple awards including a Barlow Endowment commission, 1st prize in the 2009 SCI/ASCAP Student Composers Commission Competition, Musica Sacra International Choral Composition Competition in Poland, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Susan and For Schumann Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival, and the Tangeman Sacred Music Center.

Douglas holds Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of music as well as a post-graduate certificate from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland where he studied with internationally revered composer Paweł Łukaszewski under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant. Douglas currently serves as composer-in-residence at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, OH and is active as a conductor, vocalist, author, and entrepreneur. His music is published by Boosey & Haweks, Schott Music, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Jackman Music Corporation, and his own publishing house, Blue Shore Music.

 2012, Washington National Opera

2012, Washington National Opera

 2011 with my teacher, Paweł Lukaszewski in Warsaw, Poland

2011 with my teacher, Paweł Lukaszewski in Warsaw, Poland

 2014 with Richard Elliott, John Pew, and the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra

2014 with Richard Elliott, John Pew, and the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra

“In Douglas Pew we have a fresh new voice in contemporary sacred music. His craftsmanship in the art of composition is readily demonstrated in his outstanding cantata “The Good Shepherd”. In this cantata we hear his superb work in the writing of hymns, solo arias, and choruses. His writing for voices and instruments is filled with sensitivity and beauty, always complementing the spirit of the text. We have much to look forward to in the future compositional output of this exciting new American composer.”
— Dr. Craig Jessop, Former Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Penny’ simply works, not because we should like it, but because it has a story to tell. The different levels of musical characterization were far more than merely evocative, and they succeeded on a dramatic as well as a musical level.
— Anne Midgette, Washington Post
The engrossing drama ‘Penny’ [by Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg] is a thought-provoking musical feast. There are moments of real genius in this opera – where character, music, and song meet in a way that is pure magic.
— Jessica Vaughan, DC Metro Theater Arts
Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg succeeded beautifully with a moving, touching, funny and meaningful piece called ‘A Game of Hearts’. Not only did the opera work as theater with Dara’s excellent libretto, Doug went to the root of the emotional world of the opera and wrote music that illuminated the characters and situation with a showman’s touch and poet’s soul. He let it take flight.
— Jake Heggie, composer (Moby Dick, Dead Man Walking)
Mr. Pew’s score—mirabile dictu—soars into a beautiful, Romantic vocal triptych. It was a stunning, quality moment. Vocal composers today are still haunted by Puccini. They fear Puccini, fear his gift for melodies and arias, and are deathly afraid to be compared unfavorably to him. Mr. Pew and Ms. Weinberg evidently do not fear Puccini. Monday evening’s Terrace audience didn’t miss this magical moment during which this young team fully re-engaged with tradition.
— Washington Times, Terry Pinock covering the American Opera Initiative
“Doug’s sacred music is deeply spiritual. It arises not simply from a composer’s desire to express themselves, but from a more profound need to express truth. It walks the fine, beautiful line between the perfection of the divine and the limits of human spirituality to that magical point where the veil between them grows thin. Performing Doug’s sacred music is exercise for the heart and a feast for the soul.”
— Dr. Carlton Monroe, Music Director, St. Thomas Episcopal Church