The story of “Solaces” on TV

February 13, 2018 By Russell Scarbrough

In January, I traveled to Peoria, Illinois for the Illinois Music Education Conference with the Buffalo Grove High School Chamber Orchestra, so guest-conduct Solaces. Prior to that performance, I appeared on WTTW-Chicago in a profile of the piece and the circumstances surrounding its creation, and discussed some of its unique musical features.

The orchestra’s performance in Peoria was excellent, and considering the technical challenges of the work, not to mention the expressive demands inherent in such a piece, it was really an outstanding and memorable achievement. Many in the audience were moved by the performance, and several of the educators present commented on the musical language of the piece – in particular, that it “didn’t sound like movie music” (which I suppose is how most youth orchestras encounter contemporary works). I wasn’t conscious of this while I was writing, but there were some discussions going on about how there was a lack of intermediate-level modern orchestra works of real quality, particularly string orchestra.

You can view the WTTW broadcast here.