A conversation with Josh Perry-Parish

Josh Perry-Parish is a composer based in Southeast Baltimore who wrote "When Music Stops." He teaches Spanish and directs choirs at an all-grades school in rural Baltimore County. 

His Six Degree Singers connection: Josh met our artistic director, Rachel, through singing with the University of Maryland's Concert Choir.

How did you choose to write "When Music Stops" in the way you did?
I loved the idea of pairing my new piece with Stephen Paulus's "When Music Sounds," but I wasn't sure that I wanted the pressure of writing something equally beautiful that would compete with the Paulus piece in sheer loveliness of sonorities. But I thought that music is also important when it is not sounding, particularly when it stops, and that thought drove me to search for days for a story about musical chairs. Upon finding the B. Fletcher Robinson article from 1901 through Google Books, I knew that I had the perfect story. The first page of the piece wrote itself as soon as I saw the text.

What is your favorite thing about the piece you wrote?
The action sequences. I loved trying to depict the mayhem of kids, untrustworthy older relatives, and chairs flying around the impeccably decorated room.

What are you most looking forward to about hearing the Six Degree Singers perform your piece?
I love hearing any group enjoy my music. That's what I will hope to see first.

What was your most fulfilling musical experience to date?
It's a tie: either my doctoral composition recital, which featured almost all of my friends playing and singing really challenging music in exchange for pizza and goodwill; or my first fall concert as director of the University of Maryland Men's Chorus; or getting to sing the Mozart Requiem with legendary conductor Robert Shaw in Atlanta toward the very end of his life. But if there's ever a My Little Pony Rainbow Rocks concert, and if I get to attend and sing along with my 4-year-old daughter, then that just might blow them all away.