Here is my VERY EXCITING NEWS!!!!!!!!

We’re going to PHEONIX, ARIZONA!!!!!!

On September 11, 2009 the Western Illinois premier vocal ensemble, University Singers, will be singing with the Pheonix Symphony Orchestra “On the Transmigration of Souls” by John Adams. Here is information on this work from Wikipedia.

On the Transmigration of Souls, for orchestra, chorus, children’s choir and pre-recorded tape is a composition by composer John Adams commissioned by The New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers (and an anonymous but prominent New York family) shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Adams began writing the piece in late January 2002 for a requested tribute for September 11. The music was premiered by the New York Philharmonic on 19 September 2002 at Avery Fisher Hall. It is approximately 25 minutes long.

In an interview Adams explained: “I want to avoid words like ‘requiem’ or ‘memorial’ when describing this piece because they too easily suggest conventions that this piece doesn’t share. If pressed, I’d probably call the piece a ‘memory space.’ It’s a place where you can go and be alone with your thoughts and emotions. The link to a particular historical event – in this case to 9/11 – is there if you want to contemplate it. But I hope that the piece will summon human experience that goes beyond this particular event.”

The work is notable for containing texts from the countless “missing person” signs that became such a heartwrenching symbol of the events, which are both narrated and sung. The trumpet section in the middle section of the work is a quotation of Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question (1906) in which the trumpet asks “What is the meaning of life?” over the sound of the strings that represent eternity.

The title itself carries a certain heaviness of thought and meaning. According to Adams, “Transmigration means ‘the movement from one place to another’ or ‘the transition from one state of being to another.’ But in this case I meant it to imply the movement of the soul from one state to another. And I don’t just mean the transition from living to dead, but also the change that takes place within the souls of those that stay behind, of those who suffer pain and loss and then themselves come away from that experience.”

Adams utilizes a “soundscape” to surround the audience with recordings of city sounds, such as traffic, sirens, footsteps, etc, along with different voices reading names of the victims of September 11. The different layers of instrumental oscillations and pulses, along with the sound and texture of the orchestra seem to make the live orchestra sound electronically synthesized. The mix of sound also contains both a children’s chorus and an adult chorus. While a children’s chorus is normally used to give a “ethereal” or “angelic” role and sound in big concert pieces, Adams used the children’s chorus because the sound is completely different acoustically and timbrally from the voices of the adult chorus. As a result, Adams didn’t isolate the children’s chorus or create the role of “innocence” for it. Instead, he would have them sing simultaneously with the adult chorus and the orchestra in order to contrast the different sounds of the groups. The piece contains no musical narrative, and other than the litany of documents about the victims from newspaper memorial and missing person fliers, there is no other sung text.

Adams received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in music for the piece. Its premier recording (with Lorin Maazel conducting the New York Philharmonic, New York Choral Artists, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus), received the 2005 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Its sheet music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

I’M SOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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