Heading: concerto for violin and orchestra
First Performance and Recording:
January 5-7, 2019
Tessa Lark, violin
David Alan Miller, conducting
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Troy, New York
Instrumentation: 18.104.22.168—22.214.171.124—timp.perc(1)—harp—violin solo—strings
Albany Symphony Orchestra
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Erie Chamber Orchestra
Chamber Orchestra of the Springs
The inspiration for this concerto came from Tessa Lark, who will be premiering, recording, and
touring the piece among the consortium of orchestras that are supporting this project. Tessa is a
unique artist, in that not only is she deeply immersed in the classical field but comes from
Kentucky, with a father who is a veteran Bluegrass musician, and has this style in her blood.
Tessa and I worked together on an earlier piece of mine, Spoon Bread—a duo for violin and
piano commissioned by Carnegie Hall—and it was during that period that the idea to write a
concerto for her clicked.
Banjo-picking technique given to the solo violin was the departure point in the first movement.
For the second movement my source material was Irish reels, the forerunner of American
Bluegrass. The template for the third movement was fiddle licks with a triplet feel. In each case I
wrote themes of my own in these styles, and developed the ideas into a standard, “composed”
violin concerto. Everything is written out, nothing improvised.
Just as when one looks up and sees the open expanse of the sky, I felt an openness when writing
this piece, a renewed freshness to putting notes together. I thank Tessa for opening this door and
working so closely with me on this project.