Repertoire announced for Interlochen Arts Academy chamber concert at Lincoln Center

Interlochen Arts Academy is pleased to announce the program for the latest installment of its ongoing collaboration with the New York Philharmonic.

The 2017 collaboration will feature a brief residency by several New York Philharmonic musicians on Interlochen’s campus as well as a chamber performance by Interlochen Arts Academy musicians in New York City on Jan 28. Selections for the student performance on Jan. 28 will include:

  • “Cannonball Ain’t Got no Mind” from “One More Blue, One More Gray” by TJ Cole
  • “By All Means” by Nico Muhly
  • “Chase Sequence” by James Stephenson
  • “Sextet” by Frances Poulenc
  • “A Man with a Gun Lives Here” by Steven Snowden
  • “Theme and Variations” from String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 68 by Dmitri Shostakovich
  • “Clear Music” by Nico Muhly
  • “tritonicity” by Thomas Childs

“Cannonball Ain’t Got no Mind” was inspired by composer and Interlochen Arts Academy alumna TJ Cole’s childhood. Cole (IAA 10-12, IAC 03, 06, 08-09) grew up in Georgia and had ancestors who had fought in the U.S. Civil War. Through the years, the Cole family passed down folk songs from the Civil War, with each performer interpreting the melody in his or her own particular style. “One More Blue, One More Gray” is Cole’s own interpretation of this folk song, with each movement representing one line of the song as it was taught to Cole by her father.

“By All Means” was commissioned jointly by The Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music based on Webern’s “Concerto for Nine Instruments.” Muhly said he focused on the first three pitches of the row utilized by Webern, which in turn reminded him of the cross-relations in Weelkes motets. “By All Means” is a coexistence and collaboration between the musical concepts of Weelkes and Webern.

Interlochen Arts Academy alumnus and former Arts Camp faculty member James Stephenson (IAA 83-86, IAC 79-84, 86, IAC Fac 04, 08) composed “Chase Sequence,” debuted by the Marine Band brass quintet at the International Trumpet Guild conference. The piece features repeated motifs in which the members of the ensemble seem to try to “catch up” to the other members. The excitement of the chase is captured in grooves, interesting harmonies and heroic figures perfectly suited for brass instruments.

Active during the harmonically innovative period of the 1920s and 1930s, Francis Poulenc chose instead to utilize more traditional harmonic structures. He was purported to have written “I know perfectly well that I’m not one of those composers who have made harmonic innovations like Stravinsky, Ravel or Debussy, but I think there’s room for new music which doesn’t mind using other people’s chords.” His “Sextet for Piano and Winds” weaves traditional harmonic structures with modern jazz and ragtime influences.

“A Man with a Gun Lives Here” pays homage to the hoboes of the Great Depression. Hoboes, migrant workers who traveled from town to town via rail looking for work, developed a system of pictorial codes to aid their fellow hoboes. Each of the three movements, as well as the overall title of the piece, can be represented by a single character of hobo code. “A Man with a Gun Lives Here” requires the performers to channel the resourcefulness of the hobo with limited and often surprising instruments, including a paper bag full of buckshot.

Debuted by the Beethoven String Quartet in 1944, Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Second String Quartet” is representative of the composer’s attempts to balance his creativity with the Soviet Union’s official and unofficial regulations. While Shostakovich found his major works such as ballets and symphonies heavily censored, his chamber works, which were performed for much smaller audiences, offered greater room for expression. The fourth movement of the quartet, “Theme and Variations,” is an original melody inspired by Russian folk music.

“Clear Music” is an exploration of a single measure of John Taverner’s motet Mater Christi Sanctissima. Like the original Taverner piece, “Clear Music” features an exposed treble line that is often more than an octave above the other voices of the ensemble. Requested by cellist Wendy Law, the piece features the cello as the treble voice rather than its traditional tenor.

Composed by Interlochen Arts Academy composition instructor Thomas Childs (IAA Fac 12-16), “tritonicity” is a piece based thematically on a tritone. While considered one of the harshest intervals to the ear, it is used extensively in classical and jazz music because of its instability. This piece vacillates through jazz-inflected sections and lyrical, flowing sections while maintaining the importance of the tritone throughout. The performers have the added challenge of moving between swing eighths, common to the jazz idiom and straight eighths. “tritonicity” features the bass clarinet in many of the faster passages then contrasts it with extended tertian textures inherent in both jazz and 20th century music.

Following a successful performance during the 2016 NY Phil Biennial this 2016-17 Interlochen Arts Academy collaboration with the New York Philharmonic will allow our students the full benefits of this continuing partnership.