Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meet Joe Schwantner and reacquaint yourself with Ford Made in America

The opening night of our 2008/2009 Masterworks season is just around the corner. This season, we celebrate Music of Our Time, that is, music written in the VSO's lifetime (1935-present). While some concert-goers might shudder to think the coming season features nary a piece by Beethoven, Mozart, or Brahms, the educated listener will recognize many of the pieces and their tunes on each program. The uneducated listener will at least recognize "Hoedown" from Aaron Copland's Rodeo as the theme music for the beef industry's famous ad campaign.

The VSO is again participating in the Ford Made in America commissioning project. Read more about it here. The VSO will host the east coast premiere on October 25. The piece is Chasing Light..., by Joseph Schwantner. Some VSO regulars might remember the first FMIA commission, Made in America by Joan Tower. Did you know the recording of this piece by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin won a Grammy in 2008?

The Reno Chamber Orchestra had the pleasure of presenting the world premiere of Chasing Light... on September 20. You can read the review here. Some of the highlights of the review are excerpted here:

"...Joseph Schwantner's "Chasing Light..." is the new piece on the block, and it's a dramatic work embracing a broad sweep of orchestral colorations and textures."

"Schwantner uses clusters of sound like building blocks piled one on top of another to whip up climaxes of epic proportions, then intersperses those explosive moments with hauntingly lovely, reflective interludes. Schwantner's music, at once powerful and reflective, is about the creation of mood and emotion."

The folks at Ford Made in America have produced a series of videos about the project, the piece, and Joe Schwantner. The following video introduces us to the composer.