Each year, Carnegie Hall
presents a large-scale Creative
Learning Project in which local students perform a
major work in Stern Auditorium with a professional orchestra,
professional soloists, and a well-known conductor. As part of the project,
students also compose new music based on themes from the featured major work.
These projects are designed to nurture and showcase exemplary student work,
elevating student performance to a professional level and creating transformational
experiences for all involved, including the audience at the final performance.
The 2011–2012 project will
focus on a performance of Orff’s Carmina Burana conducted by David Robertson
with Orchestra of St. Luke’s on February 5, 2012.The first half of this concert
will feature three 5–7 minute pieces for orchestra and choir written by top
high school composers from around the country. These students—Anthony from
Tucson, Arizona; Gabe from Florence, South Carolina; and Thomas from New York—met with composer Thomas Cabaniss in late June to
kick off their work. During this orientation workshop,
each student selected a text related to the topical themes of Carmina
Burana. Over the summer, Anthony, Gabe and Thomas will
compose their pieces using these texts and the compositional techniques that Orff explored in
Carmina Burana. Below, 16-year-old Anthony discusses the beginning of
his compositional process. —Sarah Johnson, Director, Weill Music InstituteThis summer has been full of inspiration. I am amazed and
honored to be working with the Weill Music Institute on the Carmina Burana
Choral Project. Seeing my work performed at Carnegie Hall will be the
experience of a lifetime.
Visiting New York in June for our
orientation workshop was a new experience for me. Although I’d been there once
before, this visit was completely different in that it focused on the artistic
aspects of the city. What a wonderful thing to see a place where art and music
never stop flowing! Even walking on the sidewalk, creativity is abundant. Just
being in New York and observing the city gave me many preliminary ideas for my
piece. Meeting Gabe and Thomas—the other incredibly talented student composers
on this project—was also a rewarding experience. Seeing people my age who care
about music as much as I do is a rare occurrence.
Student composers Gabe Smallwood (light blue shirt), Anthony Constantino (yellow shirt), and Thomas Reeves (dark blue shirt) are joined by their mothers and Carnegie Hall staff members as they explore New York City.
During this orientation workshop,
the two other student composers and I each selected a text that related to the
themes of Carmina Burana. My piece has been coming
along very well so far, based on the text I selected: “Thus it was” by Dag
Hammarskjöld. I selected this piece because it speaks of a common struggle that
we all go through—pondering our innate need to strive for something, even if
we aren’t sure what it is. I very much look forward to seeing what my
work will turn into and how it will grow. Writing it will be a beautiful
journey of self-discovery. Coming for the young artist seminar
at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Colorado has given me a chance
to sit with my ideas about my upcoming composition to try and mold them into something
real. I have fallen in love with the mountains here. The atmosphere is
beautiful and refreshing, and inspiration is not difficult to find by only
walking outside. While it is very very different from New York, a clear, more
serene creativity is in the air. I am constantly surrounded by peers who share
my passion and enthusiasm.
I'm excited to see where my piece
goes, and for the collaboration and learning to come!
Learning ProjectsThe Carmina
Burana Choral Project
pianist, vocalist, flutist, and present student of the cello, Anthony
Constantino is a junior attending University High School in Tucson, Arizona. He
has studied composition with doctoral student Robert McClure, Tucson Symphony
Orchestra (TSO) violist and composer Ilona Gay, and Tucson conductor Alex
Shawn. He is a third-year student of the TSO Young Composer’s Project, where he
composed two pieces for full orchestra, one of which was chosen as a finalist
in the 2011 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. He currently sings with the
University High School Choraliers and the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus’s Young
Men’s Ensemble. In 2010, he joined the Arizona Repertory Singers, a
professional Tucson choir, which commissioned him to write a choral piece Beauty
has the Coldest Heart, which premiered in its 2011 spring concert series. Last
summer, he also had the opportunity to spend five weeks studying composition,
voice, and piano at the Rocky Ridge Music Center. While there, he studied
composition with Matthew Barnson and David Ludwig. His biggest influences are
Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, and Bartók.
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