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Donald Crockett: "Dance Concerto"

Dance Concerto

Donald Crockett

Born: 1951, Pasadena, California

Instrumentation: Clarinet Soloist and Wind Ensemble

Duration: 19 minutes

Composed: 2013

Premiere: February 9, 2014. Stefan Van Sant, Solo Clarinet. USC Thornton Wind Ensemble; H. Robert Reynolds, Conductor. Bovard Auditorium, University of Southern California

Donald Crockett is Professor and Chair of the Composition Department and Director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the USC Thornton School of Music, and Senior Composer-in-Residence with the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. He has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Composer-in-Residence, 1991 – 97), Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hilliard Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the California EAR Unit, among many others. Recent projects include commissions from the Harvard Musical Association for violist Kate Vincent and Firebird Ensemble, the Claremont Trio, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, 21st Century Consort and a chamber opera, The Face, based on a novella in verse by poet David St. John. Donald Crockett was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and has also received grants and prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow Endowment, Copland Fund, Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts and many others. His music is published by Keiser Classical and Doberman/Yppan and recorded on the Albany, CRI, ECM, Laurel, Orion and Pro Arte/Fanfare labels. A frequent guest conductor with new music ensembles nationally, Donald Crockett has been very active over the years as a composer and conductor with the venerable and famed Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles. His recordings as a conductor can be found on the Albany, ECM, New World and CRI labels.

The Concerto for clarinet (doubling bass clarinet) and wind ensemble is a dance concerto riffing on the theme of its premiere at The Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2013: ‘Dancing the Night Away Until Dawn.’ The original version, a co-commission from Frank M. Hudson and the 21st Century Consort, is scored for soloist and a miniature band of eight instruments without percussion. In this current version, which I had in mind from the initial conception of the piece, the band is considerably enlarged to a wind ensemble of thirty-three musicians including four percussionist. The soloist in Dance Concerto plays both clarinet and bass clarinet in this virtuosic, three-movement work. All three movements are ‘Dance Music,’ as if the soloist were the leader of some sort of dance band on this or another planet, and they play fast music, slow music and music in between. These are invented dances; the regulars at this particular late-night, cosmopolitan club are very, very, good, but even newcomers can join in and dance until the sun comes up.

- Donald Crockett

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