Music by American composers and inspired by visits to the United States is featured during the Santa Fe Symphony’s “In Honor of Lincoln” program at the Lensic Performing Arts Center next Sunday.
“Greg (Heltman) told me he wanted to do an American program so we talked about what that meant,” explained guest conductor Robert Trevino. “I love American music. As we talked about the music, and the names of lots of pieces were thrown around, I wanted to be sure that we gave depth of perspective to the program.”
Heltman is the symphony’s general director.
Trevino, the associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a candidate for the position of principal conductor of the Santa Fe Symphony, suggested Aaron Copland’s piece “Lincoln Portrait.” It will be narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Santa Fe resident N. Scott Momaday.
Trevino also wanted to include George Walker’s piece “Pageant and Proclamation.” Ninety-one-year-old Walker, who was the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996, studied at Oberlin Conservatory, Curtis Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music. During his long career, he taught at a number of colleges and universities around the country. He is traveling to Santa Fe to attend the performance.
“I had collaborated with George Walker in Cincinnati and found him to be a passionate and brilliant human being,” said Trevino. “His work ‘Pageant and Proclamation’ includes a hymn from the Civil Rights Movement. George has quite a varied style. He is an incredibly independent spirit.”
Trevino is excited that the symphony decided to include Jared Baca’s piece “Ascension” in the program. Baca, a composer, trumpet player and music producer who lives in Boston, was born and reared in Santa Fe. He played in the Santa Fe Youth Symphony. In 2008 he was offered a scholarship to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he discovered his love for composing, orchestrating and producing music. “Ascension” is a work that portrays the fight of geese as they are forced to leave their home when it is destroyed by a fire.
John Williams’ piece “Liberty Fanfare” also is on the program. Written in 1986, it was commissioned to celebrate the centennial of the Statue of Liberty.
Although a Czech composer, Antonín Dvorák was inspired by this country during the time he lived here from 1892-1895. He wrote the program’s only symphony, Symphony No. 9 “The New World,” in 1893. The work purportedly incorporated his reflections on his American setting.
“It’s great that I’m conducting an American program in Santa Fe right after I conduct six programs of American music at a huge music festival in France,” said Trevino. “I’ll definitely be in an American music frame of mind.”
Trevino, who has guest conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony among others, has ties to the Southwest. His grandparents are from El Paso.