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JOAN TOWER (1938-) Red Maple for Bassoon and String Orchestra Premiered on August 4, 2013 in Columbia, SC with Peter Kolkay as soloist under the direction of Morihiko Nakahara.

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22 Premiered on December 10, 1876 in Prague under the direction of Adolf Čech.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2008 the Nashville Symphony’s recording of three of Joan Towers’ recent works was the top selling recording, winning three Grammy awards.

“I don’t do movements,” Joan Tower famously quipped, and her 17 minute-long “concerto” for bassoon follows through on that. Despite the lack of movements, the work has nevertheless three cadenzas. Tower’s goal was to let the bassoon “shine.” Tower describes herself as a very intuitive composer: “I’m totally unpre-compositional. I compose very slowly but I have tremendous concentration. I can go three hours at a time without looking up, but I’ve built that up over time; I used to have to go sharpen my pencil, get a cup of coffee, make that phone call. The only thing I know is who I’m writing the piece for and low long it is. The piece sort of writes itself.” When Tower was commissioned to write a bassoon concerto by a consortium or orchestra, including the South Carolina Philharmonic, she was excited about this opportunity: “You go to a flute convention and there are dozens of pieces offered […] the less common instruments just don’t come forward.” Despite her previous work with Peter Kolkay, Tower nevertheless felt like she needed to learn more about the bassoon. So she enlisted Bard student David Nagy to play drafts and provide feedback.

1875 was a good year for Dvořák. Happily married for two years, Dvořák was in the process of building a life for his young family. As the recipient of the Austrian State Prize for young composers, he was able to focus on his craft. Some of the fruits of his labor were his Fifth Symphony, his opera Vanda, several chamber works, and the Serenade for Strings. Composed in only twelve days, Dvořák seems to give expression of his contentment. The work brims with optimism and happiness.

DID YOU KNOW? The first movement was quoted in The Simpsons for the episode “Homer is Where the Art Isn’t.”

Despite the speed of composition, the Serenade is as masterfully crafted as some of his more serious works composed that year. In fact, Dvořák carefully creates a sense of unity through thematic recurrences: material from the waltz appear in the larghetto, and finale concludes with a restatement of the work’s opening theme. Dvořák was well on his way to add his voice to late-19th-century Romanticism. - Siegwart Reichwald

THE BREVARD CAMERATA is comprised of BMC’s talented College Division students working sideby-side with members of the Artist Faculty. Directed by Jonathan Spitz, Principal Cellist of the New Jersey Symphony and long-time member and artistic leader of Orpheus, America’s premier conductorless ensemble, the Brevard Camerata explores nearly four centuries of music from the rich and diverse chamber orchestra repertoire.

2019 Summer Institute & Festival



The result is a work that allows the instrument to come forward unimpeded, revealing the rich color spread throughout its different registers.


timpani hints at a regal occasion. Regardless of its occasion, the music is vintage early Mozart: imaginative, at times daring, and always full of surprises.

Profile for Brevard Music Center

2019 BMC Overture Magazine  

The seasonal publication for the annual Brevard Music Center Summer Festival. Overture includes all festival programming and program notes,...

2019 BMC Overture Magazine  

The seasonal publication for the annual Brevard Music Center Summer Festival. Overture includes all festival programming and program notes,...