The California Symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence program provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for composers who are able to workshop new orchestra music over the course of a season. This year, I wrote three sketches which were read-through and coached masterfully under Maestros Nicholas McGegan, Robert Moody, and Alastair Willis. This opportunity is unparalleled by any other institution, be it an orchestra, a university, or a conservatory, and I know of no other composers (other than the former YACR alumni) who have this kind of collaborative experience with an orchestra. It is truly a gift that I do not take for granted. Because of this, I want to be able to give back to the orchestra.
“Optima Vota: overture-fantasia” is an eight-minute long piece for full orchestra which starts with expansive sonorities and orchestral waves which introduce melody and fanfare. The middle section of the work divides the strings into numerous sections and builds to a massive crescendo. This hails the return of the crests and bright sonorities from the beginning of the piece. Listen for solo string quartet music, the elaborate engagement of pitched percussion and harp, and exhilarating brass fanfares.
Optima is Latin for “the best” or “excellent.” Vota means “prayers, vows, or wishes.” This music is a presentation of my best wishes for the performers…who then perform the piece as a musical offering to the audience…who will hopefully continue the chain of events to those whom they come in contact with after hearing the work. Perhaps it is a transcontinental butterfly effect with a piece of music that has beginnings in both Richmond, VA and Walnut Creek, CA!
“OPTIMA VOTA: overture-fantasia” is dedicated to the musicians, administration, and board members of the California Symphony Orchestra for their longstanding support of young American composers.