Showcase May-June 2014 - page 24

Artist / Program Notes
june 12, 14
Kevin Puts
January 3, 1972, St. Louis; now living in Yonkers, New York
Symphony No. 4:
From Mission San Juan
Courtney Lewis
, conductor
Belfast native Courtney Lewis, the Minnesota Orchestra’s
associate conductor since 2010, has worked with orchestras
and chamber ensembles on three continents. He appears
annually on the Orchestra’s subscription series in addition
to leading numerous Young People’s, Friends & Family and
summer concerts.
New post:
After concluding his Minnesota tenure this
summer, he becomes assistant conductor of the New York
Philharmonic. He continues to direct Boston’s Discovery
Ensemble, which he founded.
His recent and upcoming engagements include
debuts with the Vancouver Symphony, Lausanne Chamber
Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony,
Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Memphis Symphony, as
well as returns to the Alabama Symphony and RTÉ National
Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Of note:
Before focusing on conducting, Lewis studied music
composition and clarinet at the University of Cambridge.
one-minute notes
Photo: Travis Anderson
omposer Kevin Puts has become an increasingly
familiar—and welcome—figure in Minnesota.
In 2006 the Minnesota Orchestra gave the
world premiere of his Sinfonia concertante, a
work for five soloists and orchestra. Five years later the
Minnesota Opera premiered his first opera,
Silent Night
about the spontaneous cease-fire between Allied and
German troops one Christmas during World War I, and
that work won him the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Major awards have come his way before. He is one of
the few composers to receive both the Prix de Rome and
the Guggenheim Fellowship in the same year (2001).
At the Eastman School of Music, he became the first
undergraduate to win the Charles Ives Scholarship from
the American Academy of Arts and Letters; he later
earned a master’s degree at Yale and a doctorate from
Eastman, winning multiple BMI and ASCAP grants
along the way. His catalogue of compositions has grown
to include more than a dozen chamber compositions
and nearly twice that number for orchestra, among
which are concerted works featuring instruments
that don’t often make it to the front of the stage, such
as oboe, horn, marimba and percussion. He is now
a faculty member at the Peabody Institute, and his
commissions come from major ensembles and soloists
across North America, Europe and the Far East.
Puts: Symphony No. 4:
FromMission San Juan
This symphony evokes the reverberant walls of
California’s Mission San Juan Bautista, where friars
once taught hymns to the area’s native Mutsun
people, who, however, still held fast to their own
musical ancestry. Archaic, echoing tunes suggest
early chants, and a “river of melodies” reflects Mutsun
songs. After the two forms compete, a “healing song”
brings resolution.
Mahler: Symphony No. 5
“The whole thing spins like a comet’s tail,” Mahler
wrote of a huge scherzo he composed in 1901. It was
to become the spectacular centerpiece of his three-
part, five-movement Fifth Symphony. A
Funeral March
and a stormy lament precede the powerful
a vast celebration in which the horn takes a starring
role. Then, in a dramatic mood change, a graceful
and energetic
lead toward a
majestic, chorale-like close.
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