Student Composition reading – David Stock

On March 4, The Pittsburgh Symphony performed one of its most valuable
services: readings of works by graduate student composers from the 3
Universities: Pitt, CMU and Duquesne. This activity is  not aimed at
the general public, or at crowds of middle-school students; it is a
living laboratory for advanced students of composition and a small
number of interested parties. But its potential impact down the road is
quite large, especially in relation to the  modest number of attendees.

It gives young composers a chance to not only hear their music
read-superbly-by a great orchestra, but to interact with the musicians,
conductors and librarians on a professional level. What an eye-opener
(ear-opener?) it is to hear what you have written played extremely
well, on minimal rehearsal, and then to try to improve a few places
based on the feed-back! What a difference from hearing college or
semi-professional orchestras struggle with your music, where you aren’t
sure if the problems are in the piece or in the performance.

For those of us in the audience, it was incredibly gratifying to see
how seriously these wonderful musicians try to give the composers their
best possible picture of the true sound of their work; perhaps some day
one of these lucky composers will return with a fully-rehearsed new
piece on a subscription concert? One can hope that they will utilize
the lessons learned on  this morning to strengthen their writing for
orchestra and continue to grow into full-fledged professionals.

Kudos to conductors Lawrence Loh and Daniel Meyer, to
Composer-in-Residence Jennifer Higdon, to the players and to the entire
Pittsburgh Symphony organization for making this important event so
special for the second year in a row.( Plans are already underway for next year’s readings.)

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