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Musician/Composer Phil Hawkins to Speak at Mission College

Phil Hawkins, Mission College’s resident music composer, performer and author, will speak on campus Monday, November 18, 2013, about his music, books and the creative process in general as part of the MC Library Speaker Series.

Free and open to the public, Hawkins’ talk – “Creating Something Now!” – will include Hawkins playing a solo piece, but will focus primarily on Hawkins’ experiences in writing music on deadline, something he said many musicians find difficult to do. He’ll also speak about balancing creative flow with self-criticism, sacrificing self to create music as well as the risks and rewards of a creative life.

“I’ll talk about that process of composing on deadline and what it feels like to have to try and turn something in within a specified time, even when you’re not feeling it,” said Hawkins, a faculty member in music, accomplished jazz drummer and one of the leading innovators of music for the steel drum. “What I’d like people to take away from the talk is the idea of removing fear from the process as much as possible and be willing to just let something exist.” 

Hawkins has composed more than 40 works for steel drum orchestra, written four books on the subject and routinely travels across the country as a guest artist with steel band programs. He has produced two of his own recordings, “H2O” and “Sugarcane Suite,” which appeared on the World Music charts for 22 weeks, reaching #8. The CD also appeared on the Roots Music Chart, the World Music Jazz Chart and the College Music Journal Chart.

In addition to teaching, Hawkins also plays drumset with Latin Jazz legend Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo and the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet (a three-time Grammy nominee).

Hawkins recently finished a four-movement work for steel band and choir that was commissioned by the San Jacinto Community College in Houston, Texas. He traveled to Houston earlier this month as an artist-in-residence and to perform the world premiere of the work, “Os Seixos.”

Although Hawkins’ talk will draw on his recent experience in composing that piece, he emphasizes that his main points will be applicable beyond music.

“I’d like to encourage people not to be afraid of what comes out of their minds,” Hawkins said. “I would encourage anyone who wants to do something creative to come, and that doesn’t necessarily have to be art.”

Hawkins’ talk begins at 11 a.m. in the Mission College Library. Daily parking permits are available for $3 in lots B, C and D on the Mission College campus. For more information, contact the Mission College Library at (408) 855-5152.