Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Monday, May 27

Higdon's "Rhythm Stand"

Synopsis

The American composer Jennifer Higdon is used to having her new works premiered by some of this country’s major orchestras. The Philadelphia Orchestra, for example, gave the premiere performance of her “Concerto for Orchestra” in 2002.

The following year, another Higdon work, a piece for wind band entitled “Rhythm Stand,” premiered in Philadelphia. Now, if Higdon’s “Concerto for Orchestra” was composed for the virtuoso members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, “Rhythm Stand” was intended for amateur musicians—middle-school students, to be precise, and its premiere was given by the kids of the Baldi Middle School Band, led by Sandra Dylan.

“Rhythm Stand” was commissioned by the American Composers Forum for their “BandQuest” series of new scores, all written by leading composers, but intended for young performers.

Higdon explains the title of her new piece as follows: “Composing is merely the job of combining interesting sounds into interesting patterns. And interesting patterns create cool rhythms. So... I'm making a STAND FOR RHYTHM… rhythm is everywhere… ever listened to the tires of a car running across pavement, or a train on railroad tracks? Because music can be any kind of sound arranged into an interesting pattern, I added sounds that you normally wouldn’t hear coming from band instruments, sounds created out of ordinary things that might be nearby… like music stands and pencils, for example…. And some performers in this piece get even more basic...they snap their fingers.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962) Rhythm Stand University of Minnesota Symphonic Band;Craig Kirchoff, cond. Hal Leonard (full score, parts and CD)HL-04002285

Additional Information

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