“The Old Ash Tree” is dedicated to my grandfather, Bryant McKinney. In it, I hope to capture his strength, the beauty of the humble life he’s led, and his role as a central axis in my family, the main branch in our tree of life.
Rather than attempt to recreate what O’Carolan himself might have done with these tunes, I chose to compose in a style I felt would indulge O’Carolan’s own musical curiosity while giving a nod to the colorful anecdotes that pepper the many written accounts of his life.
A story ripped from its song, turned into a poem, and then married to a tune borrowed from yet another song — what a tangled web!
Collaborating artist Emily Curtin Culler, soprano, will premiere a new collection of Irish songs and join us in other traditional works specially arranged for this concert.
Our September 24th concert was an experiment: a test to see just how much variety could be crammed into a single concert program performed by a single ensemble. To up the ante, we also added an element of chance; allowing the audience to play…
As I was writing this short waltz, I was picturing a hot and humid summer night, with a warm wind blowing and the cicadas and crickets chirping…
Within our Summer Fantasies concert program, there are three pieces I’ve dubbed “reveries”. I refer to them this way primarily as an intentional nod to their French origins, but also because each was inspired by or intended to evoke a dream-like fantasy.
In our modern era, it’s almost inconceivable for us to envision music being written and performed expressly for a single occasion. However, it was exactly that sort of one-time occasion that prompted King George II to commission Händel in 1749 to write “Music for the Royal Fireworks”.
“I did not sit down, one day, and decide I would write “Three Narratives,” says Jason McKinney. “The piece just happened to come together during a very difficult time in my life. The structure of the piece, the melodies inside the structure—these were all comforts to me, a way of coping.”
Laura composed “First Flight” to honor her friend Rebecca Lessard, founder of Wings of Wonder, a raptor rehabilitation center and sanctuary based in Empire, MI.