It was with heavy hearts that we at Carl Fischer Music learned of DAVID MASLANKA’s passing on August 6th. He was a prolific composer–especially well known for his band compositions–with a patient soul.
The quantity and diversity of Maslanka’s portfolio, which includes over 150 works, is representative of a man that pursued his art with tenacity. In fact, it is interesting to note that Maslanka declined a tenured teaching position during the early stages of his career, so that he could pursue his art more readily. This tenacity would eventually lead Maslanka and his family out West (Missoula, Montana) in the hopes building a life that encouraged his creative spirit. It was “an enormous leap of faith” and we, as performers and audience members, have reaped the benefits.
The quality and immediacy of Maslanka’s music reflects a man that was diligent in his craft and yet, ever-mindful of music’s ability to speak for itself. He believed one of the most important aspects of composing was to “just show up” and engage the music. Somewhat paradoxically, Maslanka also found that he needed to give the music space to breathe so that his unconscious mind could work through its unique qualities. He was “fond of taking walks” as a means of allowing the music to reveal itself to him. This, however, was not a passive or reactionary approach to composition. Rather, it was Maslanka’s way of actively acknowledging that patience is required in the process of creating.
Maslanka’s approach to composition struck a balance between tenacity and patience–a quality that can be heard in any of his pieces and something worth emulating in one’s own life.