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tal fugue stands in for the choral “Amen” fugue that some scholars think Mozart envisioned after the “Lacrymosa.” In Cooper’s “Sanctus,” a D major chord sustains for about ten minutes, shimmering and glowing as the instrumental lines murmur and the choir joins in, first singing just the vowel ah, then the word Sanctus. The six composers’ contributions add up to “a very spiritual work,” Cooper says. “I’m sure there were some people who hated it. That happens with all sorts of art,” Miller says. “But the general sentiment was so positive, and the work Sleeping Giant did was so fascinating. It really illuminates Mozart’s work in a way that hearing the old Süssmayr completion does not. It was a huge success from our perspective, and people are still talking about it.”

New Partnerships

Music Alive: New Partnerships

Dan Visconti and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (Little Rock)

Mozart’s Requiem also echoes in Rick Robinson’s Gitcha Groove On, a tenminute tone poem that Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) performed as part of another Music Alive


Music Alive Residencies focus on creating deep and innovative approaches to extended, multi-year composer residencies. Music Alive: New Partnerships are short, one-week residencies that develop new relationships between composers and orchestras that have not previously worked together. The current composer-orchestra New Partnerships pairings are: Clarice Assad and Boston Landmarks Orchestra Douglas J. Cuomo and Grant Park Music Festival (Chicago, Illinois) Annie Gosfield and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (New York) Takuma Itoh and Tucson Symphony Orchestra (Arizona) Jingjing Luo and Princeton Symphony Orchestra (New Jersey) Missy Mazzoli and Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra (Colorado) Rick Robinson and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston, Texas) Carl Schimmel and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (New Orleans) Laura Schwendinger and Richmond Symphony (Virginia) Derrick Spiva and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Sumi Tonooka and South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (Sioux Falls)

grant program. Getting a foothold in the orchestra business is a perpetual challenge for emerging composers, New Music USA’s Winship says. So the New Partnerships program from Music Alive matches twelve emerging composers with orchestras for short-term residencies that include the performance of an existing orchestral work by the composer and individually tailored events that enable the composer to reach new audiences, interact with youth, and take part in communitycentered activities. The Houston group picked Robinson from Music Alive’s roster of composers, ROCO Artistic Director Alecia Lawyer says, because of his efforts to connect new audiences with classical music through his Detroit-based CutTime Productions. (Read Robinson’s first-person essay about making classical music more accessible in the Winter 2013 issue of Symphony at Robinson, a former Detroit Symphony Orchestra double-bassist, joined ROCO musicians for appearances in locations ranging from the Continental Club, a rock venue, to a retirement home. At the orchestra’s first concerts of the season, the group performed Gitcha Groove On, a fantasy about an orchestral musician who stops into a few clubs after a concert. This was Robinson’s first orchestral residency, and it felt like “a tremendous vali-

dation of the work I’m trying to do,” he says. “My work goes beyond trying to get my music performed. I’m trying to start a conversation within the classical music industry about what our art really demands of us today. What is a 21st-century musician? It’s somebody who not only can play well, but can sell the art that we love so much. That takes communication skills, management skills, entrepreneurial skills.” Maybe Music Alive will promote the discussion Robinson has in mind. The program’s leadership is beginning to gather input about what Music Alive should do after its current residences end this spring, the League’s Rosen says. Though he won’t make predictions, he points to one dynamic worth encouraging: the burgeoning work by orchestra musicians outside their duties on the concert stage. “Musicians increasingly are demonstrating tremendous creativity—developing and curating performances, and taking advantage of a variety of repertoire and lots of different venues,” Rosen says. “They have lots of imagination. To the extent that orchestras can capture that creativity, that will go a long way to sustaining them as vital, alive, and relevant—and musically, really interesting.” STEVEN BROWN is the former classical music critic of the Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Observer, and Houston Chronicle.



Symphony Winter 2016  
Symphony Winter 2016