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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Monday, October 12

Zwilich celebrates

Synopsis

As far as housewarming gifts go, a nice bottle of champagne is common, or maybe a bouquet of flowers. But if you’re a composer, and the occasion is the ceremonial opening performance at a new concert hall, you write a celebratory piece of music.

On today’s date in 1984, for the inaugural concert of the Indianapolis Symphony’s new home, the Circle Theater, American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich wrote an orchestral work entitled, appropriately enough, “Celebration.”

“In writing this work,” said Zwilich, “I was motivated by three complementary goals. First, I wanted to celebrate a joyous and historic occasion with all its inspiring symbolism of beginning and renewal. My second goal was to write a kind of “toccata” or test piece for the new Circle Theater. Finally, I wanted to celebrate the orchestra itself, which is, after all, the centerpiece of the occasion. Thus ‘Celebration’ is like a mini-concerto for orchestra.”

Zwilich’s housewarming gift was dedicated to the Indianapolis Symphony’s music director in 1984, conductor John Nelson. Despite its origins as an occasional piece for a particular event, “Celebration” has gone to become one of Zwilich’s most popular and frequently performed orchestral works.

Music Played in Today's Program

Ellen Taafe Zwilich (b. 1939) Celebration Indianapolis Symphony; John Nelson , cond. New World 336

Additional Information

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