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Colgrass commission: an insider’s look

• Michael Colgrass was the first composer chosen by the 11-member Miami committee, in recognition of the way his body of works meets the "Harmonizing Excellence, Hearing Diversity" mission of the project. He was given complete freedom in writing "Ghosts."

• Colgrass visited Miami in March 1999 to prepare for the commission. He was especially taken with a recital of klezmer music by clarinetist Michele Gingras and includes klezmer in "Ghosts."

• Colgrass’ percussion background comes through especially at the end of "Ghosts," in an extended African drumming section. "Ghosts" also is scored for many percussion instruments including two that Miami did not previously own: log drums and button gongs.

• This week Colgrass will coach final rehearsals with faculty and students. It’s a rare opportunity for those involved: like reading a book and having the author sit next to you, available to answer any question you might have. He’ll also lead a workshop on "Deep Listening" with students.

• Next in the commissioning portion of the project is Chinese composer Chen Yi, who visits campus in November. Her composition will utilize Miami’s vocal groups and premiere in spring 2002.

• In the colloquia series, Elliott "Ellie" Mannette will speak at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in Souers Recital Hall. Mannette is considered the principal innovator and designer of the modern steel drum.

• The Millennium project celebrates 100 years of music at Miami. In 1905, Miami had an orchestra, mandolin club, saxophone quartet, Choral Society, Ladies’ Glee Club and male quartet.

Date Published: 10/26/2000
Volume: 20   Number: 13

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