EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Readings

EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Reading
October 27
-29, 2015, Columbus, OH

New Orchestral Works by Four Emerging Composers: Rosalie Burrell, Saad Haddad, Patrick O’Malley & Ivan Rodriguez will be featured in as part of the Columbus Symphony Happy Hour Concerts Series presented Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:30pm.

An opportunity for emerging composers to develop their works with a professional orchestra,  EarShot participants for the Columbus Symphony Readings were chosen from a national candidate pool selected from 150 applications received from composers nationwide. Over the course of the three days of the program, the composers works will be workshopped and rehearsed, and the composers will receive critical insights and feedback from CSO Musicians, Maestro Milanov, and mentor composers Robert Beaser, (ACO Artistic Director Laureate), Margaret Brouwer, Donald Harris, and Clint Needham. The CSO will perform the chosen composers’ compositions and ask the audience to vote for their favorite before a professional jury selects an official winner.

Rosalie BurrellRosalie Burrell: Paved with Gold

Of Paved with Gold Rosalie says, “I was taking long walks through New York City; grime and glitter, glass and iron, duality at every turn. I drew a landscape of New York, not as it exists in any physical sense, but in a sweeping, sensory summary. Lines and rectangles colliding, each a duplicate of the last. Between angular clusters I drew the curved shapes of birds, untethered in the air, sometimes spilling out between blocks, or soaring right over the building clusters. I put a pin in that drawing, right above my desk, and began to compose the shape of that abstract skyline. An orchestral landscape, loud and unbridled, paved with gold.”

photo by Michael Lenahan

photo by Michael Lenahan

Saad Haddad: Kaman Fantasy

Saad’s Kaman Fantasy takes its name from ‘kamanjah,’ the Arabic word for ‘violin.’ The piece is an exploration of the Arabic ‘maqamat’ (sets of scales) and rhythms in a Western classical context. The music embraces both traditions, often swaying back and forth between Arabic and Western idioms. Saad says, “As a first-generation Arab-American, I have often found myself shifting between both cultures in the way that I think and act, sometimes voluntarily, most times not. Kaman Fantasy is a reflection on those experiences.”

Patrick O'Malley

SnoStudio Photography

Patrick O’Malley: Even in Paradise

Of his new work, Patrick says, “The Latin phrase ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ is a wonderful little line that nobody seems to know the actual meaning of. The words essentially translate, ‘I am also in Arcadia,’ and are most famously known as the subject of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin from the seventeenth century. I first encountered the subject when reading an essay by the art historian Erwin Panofsky, in which he traces the evolution of interpretation of the phrase by artists. The main point of his thesis is that the phrase originally was seen as a memento mori, conveying the warning that even in paradise, there is also death. Over time this meaning was gradually reversed: even in death, one may find paradise. Panofsky’s analysis, as well as the various artistic interpretations of the phrase, immediately struck me as a source for musical elaboration. The resulting piece is an abstract reaction to the Latin subject and its various artistic guises. While nothing in the piece is a literal depiction, there are two ideas that stem directly from the life and death images associated with the subject. The piece opens with atmospheric sounds made by the strings playing unpitched material behind the bridge (a well-known technique for representing death in music thanks to Bernard Herrmann, though I do not use it in the same way as he). Against that, simple triadic gestures (the ‘life-blood’ of tonal harmony) begin to pop out of the murk. Eventually, the music breaks into a fast, playful mood completely opposite to the introduction, exploring a variety of moods and colors.”

photo by Mary Kouw

photo by Mary Kouw

Iván Enrique Rodríguez Mercado: Luminis

Of his new work Iván says, “Luminis is a set of fantasy variations on original musical motifs. The Latin term “luminis” represents the possession of Light. Throughout piece, the original motifs remain relatively unchanged. However, the surrounding musical environment changes constantly. As the variations develop, they progressively describe the encirclement of light by darkness. Even when describing musically what could be total darkness, the original motifs remain relatively untouched. This is intended to give Light a ubiquitous quality to state that regardless of the conditions surrounding it, the energy emanating from this point – whatever it may symbolize for us individually – reinforces an inextinguishable radiance and omnipresence. As the two elements of light and darkness are opposite in that one is the absence of the other, the effect of no change on the original motifs despite the constant change of the musical variations might suggest that, although opposite in nature, they conceive their existence within the same vertex.

About EarShot

As the nation’s first ongoing, systematic program for identifying emerging orchestral composers, EarShot provides professional-level working experience with orchestras from every region of the country and increases awareness of these composers and access to their music throughout the industry. The program is administered by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) with partner organizations the American Composers Forum, League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA.

EarShot is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding for the women composers initiative is provided by the League of American Orchestras with the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.