The conclusion of The Keyboard in the 21st Century means I finally had some time to finish my new Albany Symphony commission. Part of this year’s American Music Festival, “Sing Out, New York!”, celebrating the city’s role in civil rights movements, I wanted to create an energetic, optimistic work that pays tribute to the role music has played in helping to unite people for positive change. My work, Unite in Song, seeks to illustrate this sense of joining together for a common purpose through a singable (and hummable) tune.
As set out in the commission, the work is scored for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, percussion, and a string quintet—an ensemble that I will admit to needing some time to wrap my head around (not quite a chamber orchestra, yet too big for chamber music). Coming in at about three and a half minutes (The maximum length permitted was five.), I see this as a series of moments and ideas that will likely grow into a longer (ca. 7-8 minutes) and larger (full orchestra) work. I’m so looking forward to working with Christopher Theofanidis, our mentor composer for the “Orchestrating in the 21st Century” workshops and masterclasses, and the ASO’s Music Director, David Alan Miller, a champion of contemporary orchestral music.