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Warren Benson: "The Solitary Dancer"

The Solitary Dancer

Warren Benson

Born: January 26, 1924, Detroit, Michigan

Died: October 6, 2005, Rochester, New York

Composed: 1970

Duration: 7 minutes

The Solitary Dancer is considered a masterpiece in economy of resources, sensitivity for wind and percussion colors and subtle development and recession of instrumental and musical frenzy. The work refers to the “quiet, poised energy that one may observe in a dancer in repose, alone with her inner music.” Just prior to writing this work, Benson had composed a ballet and had worked for several months with the young dancers. When asked what advice he had for ambitious composers, Benson answered, “I tell them to take a look at the repertoire and see what’s not there that is present in life. That thought is one of the reasons why I wrote The Solitary Dancer. There just wasn’t any work that was fast and exciting and quiet. Like when a group of people get together and whisper, there is a lot of intensity and excitement, but it never gets loud. It never goes anywhere in that sense. It may bubble and cook but it never really blows the lid off. There are a lot of situations in life like that—just quiet moments.”

- Program Note by Norman E. Smith

Warren Benson, The Solitary Dancer

The President's Own United States Marine Band, Col. John Bourgeois, conductor

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