Producer of the Year: Grammy Nod for Hat Trick

Producer of the Year: Grammy Nod for Hat Trick

Tonight, Hat Trick‘s Garden of Joys and Sorrows received a Grammy nod at the 2018 Grammy awards. Our album appears among nine projects listed in support of producer David Frost‘s Producer of the Year, Classical Grammy win.

Producer David Frost’s nine winning projects for his 2018 Grammy.

Working with a Master Producer

So what’s it like to work with a multi-Grammy-winning producer? The first thing David Frost’s clients will mention is his incredible ears. David internalizes the scores, hears everything, catches everything. Going the extra mile, a few days before we went to the American Academy of Arts and Letters to record, David attended a concert in which we performed all of our album’s repertoire.

David knows whether he’s got everything he needs for the master, or whether he needs just one more take. On multiple occasions, he kept us from needlessly spinning our wheels by letting us know he had everything he needed.

In terms of interpretation, David allowed us free reign. Throughout, he supported our vision of our repertoire, rather than instructing us or superimposing his will. At the same time, he often posed good questions or clarifying opinions. With Sofia Gubaidulina’s Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten, whenever we would get too “in the weeds” or literal about certain score details, he refocused us on conveying the overall gestures. An excellent listener, David produces records with the listener in mind.

David remains remarkably calm and low-key throughout the recording process. I cannot tell you how helpful his supportive calm can be when you’re exhausted, wrestling to perfect a fiendishly difficult section, or simply recharging during a break.

With his decades of experience, David Frost deeply understands the psychology and physiology of musicians. On our first evening of recording, our goal was to finish Theodore Dubois’ Terzettino. At a certain point, David interjected through the talk mic:

“You know, I think you all sound tired. We could keep going tonight, but honestly, I think we should go home. If everyone gets a good night’s sleep, we can knock this out tomorrow morning in no time.”

He was right.

Mixing with a Master Producer

David Frost primarily mixed the album on his own, sending us reference tracks for comments. After two mixes, Hat Trick did spend one day listening to the entire album in David’s home studio. Realtime conversations can save a tremendous amount of time, and nothing substitutes for hearing a record in an acoustically neutral room with professional monitoring speakers.

Generally speaking, David does what his clients request. However, he also believes that artists can squelch the humanity from a recording if they over-edit or digitally correct everything. As a group, we always trusted and deferred to David’s editing instincts. We don’t regret it.

How Did We Engage a Producer of the Year?

You may be wondering how we came to work with such a great producer in the first place. Actually, I knew David Frost because we lived in the same building, and he had heard me perform a number of times. Having a preexisting relationship helped, but so did the stellar reputation of my colleague, flutist April Clayton.

In 2011, after receiving a substantial grant from Brigham Young University, April approached me about making a recording and potentially reforming our flute-viola-harp trio. (Back in 1999-2000, we had performed quite a bit in a trio with harpist Bridget Kibbey as the Ridgewood Trio). April has a solid discography, including her debut CD Flûte Agréable, produced by multi-Grammy-winning producer, Max Wilcox.

April contacted David, and after meeting in person, we established a tentative plan, schedule, and budget. After reading with many harpists, we formed Hat Trick with Allegra Lilly, performing for a full year. Once Allegra won the audition for Principal Harpist of the St. Louis Symphony and amicably left the group, Duo Scorpio‘s Kristi Shade masterfully took the helm. With the personnel and repertoire firmly in place, we confirmed our agreement with David Frost and scheduled our recording sessions for December 15-18, 2014.

Yes, this Grammy nod actually marks a journey that began seven years ago.  You can hear the full Garden of Joys and Sorrows on this YouTube playlist.  If you like it, please help support our future projects with your purchase or download:

If you are interested in my personal discography, click here.

Doc Wallace, January 28, 2018

2016: Take a Career and Creative Inventory

2016: Take a Career and Creative Inventory

2016 was the worst year ever?!! Enough bellyaching. Set aside death, disappointment, and global chaos for a moment. Take a creative inventory of your life and career. Reflect on the good things that happened over your past 12 months. Document them, and celebrate!

At the end of each year, I take a “career and creative inventory.” To get a better perspective of what actually happened, I list all of my performances, publications, compositions, workshops, new repertoire learned, and any professional or personal highlights.

Get your calendar out and try it! You will discover just how far you’ve come (probably further than you think). When you write your accomplishments down, your dreams become concrete. In the process, you also keep your resume and c.v. up-to-date for that next big opportunity!

Once you’ve documented your year, start planning for the next. Here are select highlights from my 2016:


Hat Trick trio debut album released in 2016

On December 9th, Bridge Records released Hat Trick’s debut CD, “Garden of Joys and Sorrows.”

This month, Bridge Records released Garden of Joys and Sorrows, the debut CD of Hat Trickmy classical trio with harpist Kristi Shade and flutist April Clayton. David Frost (multi-Grammy winner for Classical Producer of the Year) did a fantastic job of bringing out our best!

In addition to featuring beautiful trios by Claude Debussy, Toru Takemitsu, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Theodore Dubois, the CD opens with the world premiere recording of Miguel del Aguila‘s Submerged. We commissioned Submerged from Miguel in 2013. In our opinion, it’s a masterpiece.

Miya Masaoka Triangle of Resistance 2016

Miya Masaoka’s Triangle of Resistance: Heavy stuff!

Late August marked the release of Miya Masaoka’s Triangle of ResistanceReleased on Innova Records, this eerie, emotion-laden work explores Masaoka’s mother’s recollections of life and community during her detainment in the American World War II Japanese-American internment camps.

This CD instantly received a rave review from the Wall Street Journal.  Subsequently, Miya’s composition made the 2017 Grammy long ballot in two separate classical categories. Certainly, I am proud to be the violist in this world premiere performance and recording!

Finally, I am pleased to report that in 2016, The Doc Wallace Trio finished mixing and mastering Live at the Cornelia Street Café. We are embarking on the final stages of the liner notes and artwork. Hopefully, we’ll have the new CD ready by June.


Robert F Ryan and Qin C Ryan Foundation Composition AwardIf 2015 was the year of Personas for Rachel Barton Pine, 2016 was the year of Array of Irrevocable Light. “Array” is my new through-composed tone poem for six-string electric viola (or violin). Commissioned generously by the Robert F. Ryan and Qin C Ryan Foundation’s Award for Composition, I composed the work over the first six months of 2016.

Array of Irrevocable Light‘s program wrestles with Faustian bargains, the loss of innocence, and our world’s looming, growing nuclear threat. During its composition, I sketched and improvised some terrifying and mind-bending explorations using extended string techniques, digital delay, twelve-tone techniques, and jazz modes. The piece is entirely composed, but with a few aleatoric moments where the performer creates specific textures for set durations.

Fortunately, the MWROC Festival filmed the July 12th premiere.  When I have the video, I’ll share it with you in a future post. Meanwhile, check out the program note, which some have deemed a “powerful philosophical statement” in its own right.

Throughout 2016, I sketched new solo works for electric viola and for acoustic violin. Stay tuned. . .


In September, I delivered a Talk 21 (“Becoming Village People”) at DePauw University’s 21CMPosium. In short, the 21CMPosium is a paradigm-shifting conference dedicated to defining 21st Century musicianship and training. Speaking of which, do you have the skills to become a “Village Person?”

Berklee String Faculty Global String Program Creative Inventory 2016

Berklee’s 2016 Global String Program faculty!

For the second year, I produced and directed the Berklee Global String Program. This is a wonderful, immersive week of concerts, jams, and intensive ensemble experiences with the phenomenal Berklee String faculty. Presently, there’s still room for you to join us for year 3!

Doc Wallace Rock Violist at MWROC Creative Inventory 2016

Doing my best to embody all of MWROC’s slogans for 2016! (Leave Your Comfort Zone at Home! Unleash YOU! Love, sing, play, rock!)

July is always one of my favorite months because I spend a full week teaching and performing at Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp (MWROC) and Music Festival. The faculty and students are a wild, boisterous, creative extended family; for this, I love them dearly.

Soon, I will have videos from my 2016 set uploaded to my YouTube channel. Join us in 2017! -If you them I sent you, you get a discount!


Naturally, a career and creative inventory should include service. I rounded out my first year as Member at Large of the American String Teachers Association’s (ASTA) National Board. I’m a firm believer that string teachers must band together, collaborate, advocate, educate, and make this world a better place. Thankfully, ASTA members are succeeding in every regard!

At the 2016 National ASTA conference, I co-presented two sessions. With Trickle Up Stringonometrics (If you Build It, They Will Come), phenomenal educators Elizabeth Fortune, Bob Phillips, Kelly Barr-Clingan and I shared how to develop multi-stylistic string programs in secondary schools and higher education.  In Tools for the 21st Century Musician, Joe Deninzon, Sean Grissom, and I gave the standing-room-only crowd a whirlwind tour of looping, jamming, transcribing, and transposing.  So that you can benefit from our resources, practical advice, and lesson plans, I’m linking the session’s handout.

Don’t miss the 2017 ASTA conference in Pittsburgh! I’ll be co-leading a half-day pre-conference session (Cultivating Creative Musicians) with master artist-teachers Matt Turner and Darol Anger. I also look forward to joining sensational artist-composer Martha Mooke for Violists on the Verge.

On a phone call with the Chicago Symphony Creative Inventory 2016

I don’t get to post this on my door every day. . .


In November, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago hosted me for a two-day teaching artist residency. To demonstrate principles of interactive performance, I led workshops and gave performances of Array of Irrevocable Light and Heinrich Biber’s Passacaglia. Additionally, I coached orchestra fellows on their own interactive concerts. We immersed ourselves in Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos (-How can we share them with diverse audiences?). Afterwards, I enjoyed coaching their stunning memorized adaptation of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote.

NEW [My] talent FORGE VIDEOS IN 2016:

My Talent Forge

Since January, I filmed 26 new video lessons for The lessons support four series: Secrets for Shifting Success, Shifting Practice, Left Hand Life-Hacks, and Quick Tips. To watch some of my video lessons, click here. You can subscribe at this link.


When you make your creative inventory, do not neglect your primary work. For me, that’s being Chair of Berklee College of Music’s String Department, which still feels like a dream. I’m incredibly blessed to work with a magnificent team of teachers, artists, and composers.  Consequently, I’m challenged and inspired create the best musical environment I can imagine each day.

Because our string population keeps growing, I hired three wonderful new professors in 2016. Joining us are cellist Natalie Haas, violinist-violist-multi-instrumentalist Beth Bahia Cohen, and violinist Sharan Leventhal.  Notably, Sharan is the first String Department professor to serve jointly on the faculties of Berklee and The Boston Conservatory, which merged in June.

David Wallace Bruno Raberg and Dave Tronzo Doc Wallace creative inventory 2016

Performing at the Equinox Festival with the Bruno Råberg Trio with Dave Tronzo on Guitar

Next year, you’ll find me performing frequently with my colleagues from other departments. I’m thrilled that my longtime collaborator, Richard Carrick, recently joined Berklee as Chair of the Composition. (As a side note, Rick conducted the recording of Triangle of Resistance).

Reflect on Your Creative Inventory

So, it has been a full year. -A good year. Take stock accordingly. Although 2016 may have been challenging, distressing, or disappointing, look closely. Because you surely can find blessings and accomplishments, you can settle the past and find hope for the future.  Take your creative inventory.

Wishing you all the best for 2017,

Doc Wallace, December 31, 2016