Programming with a Global Flavor for Family and Community Orchestral Concerts

Programming with a Global Flavor for Family and Community Orchestral Concerts
© Porapak Apichodilok
Classical music experiences can have the strongest impact on early-in-life listeners; one memorable afternoon with an orchestra and a youngster may grow into a lifelong patron and devotee.

Welcome to the first installment in a series offering orchestral programming ideas for family and community concerts from the Music Sales catalog. The following works spark imagination and serve as a passport to faraway and unfamiliar places: from the Far East to Scotland, Mexico, and beyond.

Bright Sheng
Tibetan Swing (2002) 9 minutes
Based on traditional Tibetan dance rhythms, Sheng depicts an expressive mountain dance through rhythmic foot stomps and the draping sleeves of traditional costume, with raucous zest from the ensemble.

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Tan Dun 
Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds (2015) 12 minutes
Tan Dun invites select audience members to participate with their smartphones, playing back recordings and transcriptions of Chinese bird songs; the composer’s signature juxtaposition of experimental textures and cinematic passages is sure to delight and intrigue.

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Thea Musgrave
Loch Ness – A postcard from Scotland (2012) 8 minutes
Musgrave’s lighthearted work draws on strains of an ancient Scottish melody, and depicts the eponymous monster (embodied by — who else? — the Tuba) emerging from the deep to bask in the sun. US Premiere by the Pioneer Valley Symphony on April 1, 2017.

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Robert Xavier Rodríguez 
Piñata (1991) 5 minutes
A tasty blend of Mexican folk music, samba, and American jazz dribbles mysteriously from various corners of the orchestra, as candy does from a piñata.

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Hot Buttered Rumba (1996) 5 minutes
Traditional Afro-Cuban dance rhythms abound in this tipsy toe-tapper, which laughs with the children and winks at their parents.

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Kaija Saariaho
Asteroid 4179: Toutatis (2005) 4 minutes
Commissioned by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and inspired by Holst’s The Planets, Saariaho’s tribute to the asteroid whose orbit passes closest to Earth exudes gravitational pull and ominous force.

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