I am really honored and excited to be the Composer of the Year for the
Pittsburgh Symphony this year! My first visit to Pittsburgh was for the American Symphony Orchestra League convention a couple of years ago (actually, it was not just the ASOL, but also all of the other arts conventions combined for the first time ever- very exciting!), and I had a really terrific time on so many levels. I have since been back twice, once for a performance with the symphony playing my work, Rainbow Body (Click here for excerpt) and every time I return, I feel more and more lucky to have this opportunity. My mother and her side of the family are originally from the Harrisburg area, and so being in Pennsylvania gives me a chance to invite all of our family from the region, too.
I think this new type of residency, which has really been pioneered at the Pittsburgh Symphony, is ideal for everyone involved, and I am sure is going to be the model for the future for a number of reasons. Most Composer-in-Residencies are meant to last for at least 3 years, and this offers certain things which are very nice , but in the end it is somewhat limiting because generally speaking the composer only interacts with the orchestra and public once or maybe twice a year. There is often no strong sense of connection, even though the residency lasts for several years. The Pittsburgh model brings a much more intense experience, performing 3 already previously commissioned works, and commissioning one new work, and this is combined with numerous appearances, educational activities, etc. The great thing about this from the composer’s standpoint is that the orchestra and audience become familiar with the composer’s style, and so brings something very exciting to the premiere at the end of the season. In addition, the potential for growth on all sides is much greater because of the more continuous exposure.
The three previously performed works which will be done this season are:
Visions and Miracles, for string orchestra (in January)
Rainbow Body, for orchestra (in February)
The Here and Now, for soloists, chorus, and orchestra (in May)
And the new work is a violin concerto for Sarah Chang which will be done in June, and I am happy to say it is already written, and Sarah is working on it!
I think over the course of the next few blogs, I may take some time to talk about these pieces individually, but I’d be more than happy to talk about anything of interest to anyone out there- just let me know!