At Carnegie Hall on today’s date in 1991, Dennis Russell Davies conducted American Composers’ Orchestra in the premiere performance of a new orchestral work entitled “Black Light.”
Its composer was Daniel Asia, a Seattle native who has emerged as one of the most productive contemporary composers of orchestral works. Asia has written several symphonies to date, and a number of concertos and shorter orchestral works.
The final page of the score for Asia’s “Black Light” is inscribed, “October 15, 1990—In Memoriam Leonard Bernstein.” Bernstein had died the previous day, as Asia was just finishing his new score, and a year later, almost to the day, Asia’s “Black Light” was premiered in New York.
Bernstein was a composer that Asia openly acknowledges as a big influence in his own work. But it would be wrong to suggest that “Black Light” was conceived as an elegy for Bernstein. Asia has been associated with the University of Arizona in Tucson, and says the closing section of “Black Light” is “suggestive of the fierceness of the appearance of the sun, particularly in the Southwest, in all its glory at that first instant of daybreak.”
Music Played in Today's Program
Daniel Asia (b. 1953)Black LightNew Zealand Symphony; James Sedares, cond.Koch 7372
Each day, John gladly shares his passion for music with you. The knowledge that he offers, and the stories he shares through Composers Datebook is made possible with your support. Please, take 2 minutes and make a gift today for your 2 minutes of daily music knowledge.