New Wind to Blow Through Austin
Composer John Corigliano chooses UT to premiere symphony
In the realm of symphonic music, the premiere of a new work by John Corigliano is major news. He is, after all, a composer who holds both a Pulitzer Prize (for his Symphony No. 2) and an Academy Award (for his film score of The Red Violin) and who made a major contribution to contemporary opera with his 1991 work The Ghosts of Versailles. When his work is played, people listen ... people all over the world. Right now, their ears are eagerly anticipating Corigliano's Symphony No. 3 for Wind Ensemble, scheduled to premiere on the composer's birthday, Feb. 16, in 2005, and where will that premiere take place? Right here in Austin, in Bass Concert Hall, where it will be played by none other than the UT Wind Ensemble. You see, the UT School of Music has commissioned the work and will use it to give their students the opportunity to take part in "the creation of a major new work from the ground up," as Wind Ensemble director Jerry F. Junkin puts it.
There's something more to this, though, than another case of an institution pinpointing a successful artist and offering him a commission. Corigliano actually approached UT first. Having spent two residencies in Austin with the school's Visiting Composers Series, which brings career composers to campus to work with student composers and hear their works performed by UT music ensembles, Corigliano has become intimately familiar with the university's music program. Also, in 2001, he was recipient of the Eddie Medora King Award for Musical Composition, a $25,000 prize given out biannually at the School of Music to a composer for an outstanding body of work. No doubt his time here gave him enough appreciation of the school's quality that he felt comfortable putting a new composition in its hands.
Junkin hopes to have Corigliano back in Austin for several residencies during the 2004-05 school year in preparation for the new symphony's performance.