The Musicians of the FWSO hosted the Lone Star Film Festival's screening of the seminal independent filmmaker, Shirley Clarke's "Ornette: Made in America" at the AMC Sundance Theater in downtown Fort Worth. The film depicts Ornette Coleman's return to Fort Worth in 1983 and his performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Watch the official trailer
Meet Ana Victoria Luperi
Our concerts in Bass Hall on February 3rd -5th 2012 will feature our own Principal Clarinetist Victoria Luperi playing a solo piece, "Fantasia Sobre Yma Sumac" with orchestra by our current Composer in Residence John B Hedges. We spoke to them both about the upcoming concerts. Read on to find out about what inspired the piece and what it's like to perform it!
John B says, "Fantasia sobre Yma Sumac is a musical fantasy-portrait of Peruvian vocalist Yma Sumac. Her recordings from the 1950’s may stir emotions, raise eyebrows, cause head-scratching, induce dancing, singing, or unbidden laughter. Quite often at the same time. There is something inherently astounding in Yma’s legendary vocal range, stylistic explorations and exotica mystique that could sometimes steer those recordings towards the surreal, absurd or sublime. However, the crossing of stylistic barriers, musical juxtapositions, and genuine expressive power of her voice are
maintained in a tenuous balance which hold the listener rapt. As someone who is constantly drawn to pull in external musical influences from my life into and to comment on them in my work without losing my identity in a foreign body of sound, Yma Sumac has my admiration and envy.
This work is one of several ‘musical portraits’ I have composed. Each is made up almost exclusively of small moments, groups of pitches and rhythms from the artist’s work as its fundamental material. These are then utilized to develop a soundworld through which I can explore whatever variety of
styles, feels, and emotions which the subject’s work inspires. In Fantasia, Yma Sumac’s exotica, lounge music, mambo, folk melodies, and my own musical language swirl around the virtuosic linchpin of her vocalizations with the solo clarinet serving as surrogate.
In November 2008 Yma Sumac died. It was coincidentally just two weeks before the premiere of an earlier version of this work. Her death transformed the piece, and that first performance, instantaneously into a memorial. Since then the piece has been revised and greatly expanded including the addition of a cadenza and elegiac middle section. The work was commissioned by clarinetist Victoria Luperi, who will premiere it in this final incarnation with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 2012."
Victoria says, "John B Hedges and I were classmates at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. While at school I premiered several of his pieces, and have been an ardent fan of his music since! The piece was originally a commission from the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth. The version we'll perform at Bass Hall is an expanded version of this work, which has never been performed before. It includes a new cadenza and a whole new movement (elegy) within the piece. The rest of the piece has been greatly revised.
In other words, I've never performed this piece in its current (expanded) version. I am a little nervous, as the first time I will get to hear it with accompaniment is during the rehearsals on the day prior to the performance!
When I first approached John B to write a piece for me, I didn't know he was going to draw inspiration from Yma Sumac's work. Only after the work was finished I found out, and was delighted! It is a WONDERFUL piece, I'm very passionate about this work, which showcases the range, versatility and expressiveness of the instrument. And to get to perform a piece written for me... is just a HUGE honor. I am also very honored to play it with the Fort Worth Symphony, my own orchestra, with our music director at the helm, and our composer-in-residence present!
How did you approach preparing this brand new piece differently from preparing a work that is in the standard repertory?
I have been studying the score closely -- and listening to a lot of Yma Sumac albums to get 'in character.' Also, I am fortunate in that I am able to call the composer, John B Hedges, directly with questions at any time. I have received some really valuable input and direction from him!
How long does it take to prepare to perform this piece?
Many, many hours of practicing and research.... and of course time invested in finding the perfect reed for the performances!
Did everything just "work" on your instrument when you received the score or you have been working closely with John B. on the solo part?
John B is an incredibly gifted composer who knows how to write exquisitely for the clarinet, so I'm enjoying performing the piece. I also enjoy and cherish the collaboration and open exchange between composer and performer, bouncing ideas and getting feedback - which is a rare and wonderful luxury for a performer such as myself!
Are there any particular technical challenges when you perform this piece?
The piece is challenging in that it utilizes the whole range of the clarinet -from the lowest note all the way to the highest register of the clarinet. John B also wrote extended techniques into the piece, such as growls, bends (or glissandi) and a wonderful array of differing articulation to maximize
the expressiveness. John B's sense and use of articulation in his writing is astounding - I am very much enjoying discovering each and one of his markings. I am really excited to perform his piece in Bass Hall!