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The Specifics

Dear Directors and Conductors,

Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and the 2011 Japan Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference is looking for a U.S. commissioning partner, for a piece for women’s chorus and chamber orchestra, premiering in Kawasaki City Japan on March 27, 2011. The work will set the text of contemporary New York City poet Marcella Durand.

I’m thinking eight or nine minutes, and the planned instrumentation is:

flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon
soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax
horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba
vibraphone, marimba, percussion
SSA chorus
violin, viola, cello, bass

One on a part, so, 19 players, plus the SSA chorus. I love this instrumentation. Looks like spicy chocolate to me.

If you’ve got a wind ensemble with a regular contrabass player (and a collaborating-relationship with a chorus), this means you’d only have to arrange for 3 extra string parts.

If you’ve got a chorus, this is an ensemble of 19 players, which could come from an orchestra or wind program. I will also be making a version with piano, both for rehearsal and performance.

If you’ve got a sinfonietta or new music ensemble-type thing, I’d think the challenge would be the chorus and the saxophones, but if you can get a Torke Four Proverbs performance together, you’ll probably also be able swing this.

I don’t have a title yet, mostly because I’m leaning heavily toward one particular Durand poem, but very well might change my mind at the last minute and choose another. The language and rhythm in all her stuff consistently resonates with me, so it’s quite difficult to choose the exact right one for this project. I actually met Marcella in our neighborhood, through our kids, who are playground friends. After seeing her only in the rather blindingly distracting & unconducive-to adult-conversation context of toddler birthday parties and play-dates, I stumbled upon one of her poems in The Nation. a few months ago. When I started thinking about this piece, I made an enjoyable project of looking at more of her work, which is chunky with poetics and evocatively fractured in a style that seems to suit exactly the harmonic and rhythmic language I’ll be going for with the piece.

Contact me if you’re interested in partnering with JWECC, and sharing worldwide premieres with Tokyo Kosei. The U.S. Premiere could be scheduled for anytime this Spring, or into Fall 2011.

Poetically yours,

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