Composing in the Wilderness Part 3
Part 3 of 3
The “Composers from the Wilderness arrive back in Fairbanks mid-afternoon on Wednesday where we all work to finalize our scores and create parts. For most of us, sleep that night is an unattained luxury. Rehearsals begin Thursday morning.We are incredibly fortunate, since this course is offered in conjunction with the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, to be working with such high caliber musicians from around the world. First rehearsals go pretty smoothly, better than most expected. After minor revisions and second rehearsals on Friday, we are all confident and excited.
Opening the concert on Saturday, Steve welcomed the audience and prefaced by saying “ These pieces did not exist one week ago. This is as new as new music gets.”
We all shared the Denali experience and composed music focused on that sound world and landscape which Margi and Davyd helped us perceive to greater depth. The order of the pieces, while random, could not have been better planned. Each composer’s work expressed a completely different aspect of our Denali trip, yet they contained common threads. This was not a concert for which we have written works to impress, with gratuitous congratulations all around afterward. All of us feel truly inspired by each other’s music. The audience response was among the most genuinely positive of my career.
After the concert we all met to discuss our experience with FSAF planners – I wish I’d written down everybody’s comments, but the word that kept coming up was “magical”. Everyone agreed that each of us grew not only artistically, but personally as well. I don’t think any of us expected that. The eight days fully immersed us into a place completely apart; the hiking was moderate to difficult and the composing very demanding. And in the process, we discovered things about ourselves and/or our music. For a few of the composers, this experiment, a coalition of composers into the wilderness, was life changing. For me, this trip reconfirmed my personal and compositional path.