The Symphony Series concludes with two thrilling highlights:
the world premiere of Jacob Bancks' new piece,
Into the Wild
made possible by the Minnesota Commissioning Club and a performance by cellist Eliot Johnson, winner of this year's Young Soloists Concerto Competition.
Into the Wild
Symphony students are experiencing the thrill of bringing a new piece of music to life that's been tailored to their unique skill set. Composer
spent time with
phony throughout the year, building relationships with students and learning the nuances of the orchestra. He will continue developing his connection to students when he accompanies Symphony on tour to Argentina in June.
Bancks, a Minnesota native, is
assistant professor of music theory and composition at Augustana College in Illinois
passionate about connecting with and developing audiences for concert music
and his compositions have been performed by major orchestras around the world. Below, Bancks shares his thoughts on his new composition, the process, and the tour.
What was your inspiration behind the piece?
The piece's two movements explore two different kinds of wilderness: first the natural beauty of the BWCA, Quetico or Patagonia; and secondly the "urban jungle" of the Twin Cities, New York, or Buenos Aires. The movement titles both have Minnesota connections: the first is called "Portage", after the wooded pathways between lakes up north, and the second is "This Side of Paradise", after the novel F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.
What was your process for creating it?
For the first movement, I tried to recall the more meditative moments from my own adventures in the BWCA and Quetico, and then tried to capture that sense experience in a harmonic progression. These long, distant chords sound near the beginning of the piece and then again at the end of the first movement. The first thing I wrote in second movement was a raucous, energetic tune that keeps returning throughout. From those and a few other initial ideas, everything just kind of fell into place!
What are you most anticipating about accompanying Symphony on the Argentina Tour?
I am always amazed at how different audiences receive the same work, so I am very excited that GTCYS is performing in very different parts of Argentina. I've really enjoyed the privilege of working with GTCYS students, and I look forward to learning first-hand about Argentine life and culture along with my fellow northerners! I'm also looking forward to hearing Brahms' Second Symphony several times over the trip. Every time I listen to Brahms, he has something new to say to me.
Into the Wild
, commissioned by the Minnesota Commissioning Club, is dedicated to the memory of Thelma Hunter, a beloved founding member and
it marks the final commission in a three-year cycle of new works by three different composers. The Minnesota Commissioning Club, founded in 1990, originally comprised six couples who joined together to spark the creation of new serious music in a variety of genres. Inspired by the model of an investment club, the couples agreed to contribute a moderate sum annually for five years. Quarterly meetings include lively discussion of what music ought to be written, choice of composers and ensembles, identification of suitable venues, and promotion of projects, current and past. The Club energetically champions the works it commissions to give them the broadest exposure possible. Above all, it offers its members a forum for developing musical knowledge and contacts, along with enjoyable experiences that range from study to travel to celebration. Current members include: Cathie Fischer, Linda and Jack Hoeschler, Hella Mears, Judith and David Ranheim, and Gloria and Fred Sewell.
Following its premiere,
Into the Wild will be performed again for local audiences at Symphony's Tour Send-Off Concert on June 9 at Roseville Lutheran Church, and for audiences abroad during Symphony's tour to Argentina this June at Teatro El Circulo in Rosario, Teatro Municipal in Santa Fe, and Facultad de Derecho at Universidad de Buenos Aires.
Soloist Eliot Johnson
"Audiences will enjoy the contrast of dynamic and lyric
passages" of Elgar's
lo Concerto said
GTCYS' Young Soloist Concerto Competition winne
r. "The work is also emotional having been written in the af
rmath of the First World War."
In his second year with GTCYS, Eliot has
ello with Brenda Villard since age three and recently began studying with Tanya Remenikova. Eliot currently attends Artaria Chamber Music School. He has att
ended Madeline Island Music Camp and Stringwood Chamber Music Festival and won first place in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Youth Chamber Music Competition. When he's not playing cello, Eliot enjoys biking, and making and repairing tube guitar amplifiers.
Symphony Concert Details
Sunday, April 24 at 2:00pm*
Mark Russell Smith, conductor
Tickets: $6 - $10 in advance; $10 - $14 at the door
, at the door, or call 651.291.1144
composer Mary Ellen Childs will host a conversation with Jacob Bancks and David Ranheim from the Minnesota Commissioning Club at 1:00pm in the lobby of Ted Mann Concert Hall.
Orchestrating Opportunities Benefit
Please join us for a vibrant fundraiser on Monday, May 23 from 6:30 - 8:30pm at Orchestra Hall. In honor of Symphony's upcoming tour, this year's Orchestrating Opportunities benefit will be a festive Argentinian-themed evening with food, drinks, and music. Performances by special guest Osmo Vänskä, conductor Mark Russell Smith, and Symphony musicians will inspire guests and a
live fund-a-need auction will raise money to support scholarships for GTCYS students. For details and registrati
on, please visit
GTCYS' New Community Engagement Coordinator
recently joined GTCYS' staff as our community engagement coordinator. In this newly created part-time role, Rachel will help GTCYS develop a highly accessible music instruction program with youth in the West Side community of St. Paul. Rachel has extensive experience developing youth arts programs in her previous roles with the St. Paul Public Schools' Community Education department, YMCA, and Science Museum of Minnesota. She was selected for the National Afterschool Matters Fellowship, a professional development program devoted to best practices for afterschool programs. Rachel participated in GTCYS as a child and is passionate about GTCYS' mission.
Spotlight on our Partner
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
The SPCO's 2016-17 Season Is Now On Sale − Order Today!
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is delighted to announce its
, one that reveals the full emotional range of the SPCO's repertoire. In programs that explore the outer edges of light and darkness, joy and sadness, innocence and worldliness, the virtuosity of the SPCO musicians combines with the fierce artistic commitment of their Artistic Partners and guest artists to offer distinctive and transformational performances for the community. The SPCO continues its commitment to offering the most dynamic and engaging musician-led performances of any major American orchestra.
All children's tickets free starting in September!
In an effort to make transformational performances as accessible as possible to everyone in the Twin Cities community, especially young people, all children ages 6-17 can attend unlimited regular SPCO concerts free of charge starting next season! Learn more at
to view all available packages and order your season tickets. Packages start at only $30 for 3 concerts. Extremely high demand is expected next season - order today for the best possible seats!
Stay tuned for a Classical MPR feature with Jacob Bancks and Mark Russell Smith.
Concertino & Philharmonic Concert
Saturday, April 16 at 4:00pm
St. Andrew's Church, Mahtomedi
Dan Mollick and Gary Wolfman
This concert has something for everyone with classic orchestral works such as Rossini's Overture to William Tell and the finale from Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, plus a fun collaboration that includes
's children's book One Dog Sleigh narrated by MPR's
with new music by composer
Concert Orchestra Community Concert
Monday, April 18 at 7:30pm
Dr. Benjamin Klemme
: $6 at the door
This concert features an
international digital exchange with student musicians from St. Andrew's Scots School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Learn more about the project on Dr. Klemme's blog.
Concert Orchestra will perform an energetic set with Shostakovich's Lyric Waltz from Ballet Suite No. 1, Dvorák's playful Slavonic Dance No. 2, and the Introduction and March from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique).
Symphony Free Family Concert
Over the Rainbow:
Where Music Can Take You
in collaboration with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Saturday, April 23 at 10:30am
Mark Russell Smith, conductor
, Philharmonia East, and the Minnesota Boychoir join forces for a family-friendly concert that will unite the audience in song with inspiring orchestral and choral music. Song selections from around the world will take you and your imaginations near and far. This fun and informative concert is perfect for all ages, so bring the whole family and be prepared to take your ears on a musical journey that will be sure to leave you singing. Free tickets
, at the door, or call 651.291.1144.
Spring Festival Concerts & Auction
Sunday, May 8
1:00pm: Philharmonia East, Sinfonia, Camerata, Philharmonic, Symphony
Philharmonia West, Concertino, Concert Orchestra, Symphony
Each concert celebrates a year's worth of growth and collaboration with a stirring mass finale of Holst's Jupiter.
Details coming soon about our annual online auction which closes in conjunction with the Spring Festival and has more than 100 fabulous items to bid on!
May 19 - 22 & June 3 - 5, 2016
2016 Summer Orchestras
Tuesday evenings, May 24 - July 12