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The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Music Festival of Lexington have tapped Adam Schoenberg, whose credits already include commissions for the Atlanta and Kansas City symphonies, as the 2013-14 Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence.
Schoenberg, 32, is the second composer in the commissioning collaboration between the orchestra and chamber festival. He will write an original work to be premiered at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in August at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, and then he will return in early 2014 with a new commission for the Philharmonic.
In a statement released by the Philharmonic, Schoenberg said, “It will be an honor to work with these organizations and share my music with the community for the first time. On a side note, I’m also excited to experience the bourbon trail.”
Schoenberg was born in Northhampton, Mass., studied at The Juilliard School with composers John Corigliano and Robert Beaser, and now teaches composition and orchestration at the University of California Los Angeles. He has won ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Juilliard’s Palmer-Dixon Prize for most outstanding composition, and the 2006 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is in the midst of a year as composer-in-residence with the Kansas City Symphony, which will premiere his latest work the first weekend in February.
Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell and Schoenberg met as students at the Aspen Music Festival.
The Saykaly Garbulinska partnership, created by Dr. Ronald Saykaly and his wife Teresa Garbulinska, who died last year, was announced in 2010. The first composer, Daniel Kellogg, worked with the 2011 festival and the Philharmonic in 2012.
Ronald Saykaly didn’t know exactly what he was paying for.
The Lexington physician and his wife, former concert pianist Teresa Garbulinska, attended the inaugural Chamber Music Festival of Lexington in 2007 at the invitation of some friends.
At the first event, they met festival president Charles H. Stone. Saykaly says, “I was so impressed with what they did, the tremendous volunteerism and high quality of the performance, I told Charlie, ‘Look, if you ever need help, I’d be happy to help you with something.’”
Less than a year later, Stone came calling. He had met a young composer, Daniel Thomas Davis, and wanted to commission him to write a new work to be premiered at the second edition of the festival. Saykaly thought it sounded like a great idea. He had no idea what Davis would write and whether it would have a life beyond the festival, but he bought in.
“It turned out to be rather successful,” Saykaly says.
He has supported a commission at the festival each year since then.
Davis’ Book of Songs and Visions ended up being played around the United States and Europe, and it won the 2009 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. It came back around to the Bluegrass when Lexington Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell programmed a symphonic version of it for the orchestra’s 2010-11 season.
“I said, ‘Scott, you know, that’s my piece, and if you’re going to bring him here, I’d like to commission it,’” said Saykaly, who had joined the Philharmonic board about that time.
That planted the seeds for the Saykaly Garbulinska composer-in-residence program between the Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Festival, which will bring one composer to both orchestras every other year.
Davis’ Philharmonic commission last February was an informal start to the program. The commissioning of Daniel Kellogg, who wrote a piece called Look Up at the Sky for last summer’s Chamber Music Festival and will have a new work on Friday night’s Philharmonic concert, is the first formal manifestation of the effort.
“We sat down with Ron and said, we have these two entities,” says Terrell, who chooses the composer with Chamber Music Festival director Nathan Cole, a Lexington native and associate concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. “We have the orchestral entity where I, as a conductor, know there are composers really hungry to have new works commissioned. Then you have an organization that already has several new compositions under its belt. We said, there has to be a way this can work to our mutual strengths.”
It also can put Lexington on the classical-music map.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich