New England Philharmonic's 40th Anniversary Celebration Finishes Strong with New Commissions
The New England Philharmonic, under the direction of Richard Pittman, will conclude their 40th anniversary season celebration with A Fanfare and Fireworks on April 29 at 8 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center. For more information and tickets, visit www.NEPhilharmonic.org.
The six works that comprise the NEP's final concert illustrate their mission: to perform rarely heard works of the last two centuries and to champion local composers by commissioning new works. Representing the music of the 20th century are Sebastian Currier's "Microsymph," Kodaly's "Peacock Variations" as well as Aaron Copland's "Orchestral Variations." The 21st-century works include two NEP commissions - "Flourish: A Fanfare for Orchestra" from former Composer-in-Residence Peter Child, a gift to the NEP to mark the milestone, and Violin Concerto No. 2, from present Composer-in-Residence David Rakowski. Rakowski wrote his piece for NEP's concertmaster, Danielle Maddon, who will perform it. The final work of the evening, "Oblivion" from Ukrainian composer Liliya Ugay, winner of the NEP's 31st annual Call for Scores, will receive its Boston premiere.
In just 40 years, the NEP has performed nearly 50 world premieres, most of which were NEP commissions, and dozens of Boston premieres. Three of the NEP's four performances this season did or will begin with the world premieres of fanfares created by former composers-in-residence, who each gave to the NEP in honor of the orchestra's anniversary.
The NEP is Boston's only all-volunteer orchestra that supports a composer-in-residence and has held an annual Call for Scoressince 1985 and an annual Young Artist Competition since 1994. Beginning in 1985, the NEP has commissioned a new work for each season from its resident composer. That is a record that few community orchestras can match.
"The commitment of the New England Philharmonic to the music of our time is remarkable. The composer-in-residence program has given birth to an orchestral repertory that simply wouldn't otherwise exist: opportunities to write for orchestra are rare, and my own residency meant a lot to me," said Peter Child, NEP's Composer-in-Residence from 2005-2011. "I was touched, too, during that period by the opportunities given to young and aspiring composers to hear their large works for the first time, thanks to the annual Call for Scores. And the commitment doesn't stop there: Thanks, especially, to Dick Pittman's engagement with contemporary music, the orchestra is always taking on the challenge of the new. We really cannot do without 'tradition and innovation in concert,' and I for one am forever grateful to NEP for providing it to us."
About the New England Philharmonic: Now performing its 40th season, the NEP, under the direction of Richard Pittman, is internationally renowned for its daring programming encompassing both contemporary and traditional works. The volunteer orchestra has earned nine ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming and was included in The Arts Fuse's top 10 list of notable classical music performances of 2016. The orchestra's illustrious past includes the installation of three landmark programs. The NEP became the first orchestra of its size to support a composer-in-residence (1985), introduce a Call for Scores program (1985), and establish a Young Artist Competition (1994), legacies that endure today.