The East Texas Chamber Winds (ETCW), conducted by Roy McLerran, performed the world premiere of the piece in historic Mast Hall in downtown Nacogdoches, TX on Saturday, January 5, 2019.
Around the world, people gather with loved ones to celebrate the coming of a new calendar year with the singing of the old favorite, Auld Lang Syne. For many, it is a time of reflection, appreciation, and hopeful new beginnings. It is surprising, then, to discover the less than dignified origin of this most beloved anthem.
You might have noticed the persistent presence of a pianist in instrumental and vocal solo performances. These musicians, or accompanists, are responsible for playing the other half (or sometimes more) of the sounds that the audience hears. One might wonder, from where did the tradition of “serious” music requiring a piano voice originate?
Did you know that the month of March is named after the Roman god of war, Mars? March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian calendar system, but was actually the first month on the Roman calendar. Originally named Martius, this month in Ancient Rome was characterized by religious festivals and preparations for war.
Symphonic Chocolates (2012) by Maxime Goulet, was commissioned by the National Academy Orchestra of Canada to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of the Brott Music Festival. The piece is a “soundtrack for chocolate tasting” and is frequently performed on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. The four-movement work evokes four distinct flavors; caramel, dark chocolate, mint, and coffee.
In music, there is a general aversion to change. Modern educators still teach musical notation using medieval methods, the youngest instrument (the saxophone) is nearly one hundred and seventy years old, and several of the staple pieces performed by most ensembles are from the 18th century. Despite this, new composers continue to spring up around the world and are making a constant effort to improve and enrich the arts. In honor of the new year, here is a brief introduction to a few contemporary composers who are keeping instrumental music alive.
Merriam-Webster defines indigenous as “living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment.” According to the United Nations, “there are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world.” In 2007, the United Nations declared that August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. In honor of the tenth celebration of this event, here is a small tribute to the music of Native Americans.
Independence Day in the United States celebrates the anniversary of the date over two hundred years ago when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). It is annually celebrated with fireworks, concerts, parades, and the singing of the national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner.”