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Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Anna Clyne's Color Field in October. In November, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and David Danzamyr give the US premiere of Clyne’s PIVOT.

This fall sees two exciting Anna Clyne orchestral premieres, starting with the world premiere of Color Field with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop in a concert that also features Clyne’s 2018 Restless Oceans, October 23-24. Then, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra presents the US premiere of Clyne’s PIVOT under the baton of David Danzamyr, November 19-20.

Clyne’s 15-minute Color Field (2021) for orchestra takes inspiration from philanthropist Melanie Sabelhaus, the work’s honoree, who loves the color Hermès Orange. From this, Clyne began creating music evoking color and exploring synesthesia. She says, “In the case of composer Scriabin, he associated specific pitches with specific colors, which I have adopted as tonal centers for the three movements of this piece: Yellow = D, Red = C, Orange = G.” Each movement of Color Field draws from Sabelhaus’s life and personality. Clyne explains, “Yellow evokes a hazy warmth and incorporates a traditional Serbian melody, first heard as a very slow bass line, and then revealed in the middle of the movement in the strings and winds. In Red, the fires blaze with bold percussive patterns and lilting lines. In Orange, the music becomes still and breathes, and then escalates once more, incorporating elements of Yellow and Red to create Orange – the signature color of Melanie Sabelhaus.”

Clyne’s Restless Oceans (2018) was composed for Marin Alsop and the Taki Concordia Orchestra for performance at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The piece received its world premiere at the opening ceremony in 2019 where Alsop was presented with the Forum’s Crystal Award in recognition of her championship of diversity in music. The three-minute work takes inspiration from Audre Lord’s poem “A Woman Speaks.” Clyne says, “In addition to playing their instruments, the musicians are also called to use their voices in song and strong vocalizations, and their feet to stomp and to bring them to stand united at the end. My intention was to write a defiant piece that embraces the power of women.” Restless Oceans is dedicated to Marin Alsop.

Clyne’s PIVOT makes its US debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Danzamyr (November 19-20) following its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival’s opening concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in August 2021, conducted by Dalia Stasevska. Clyne was inspired by her numerous experiences at the Edinburgh Festival and says that the variety of fantastic performances across the arts is what she tried to capture in PIVOT, “which, as the title suggests, pivots from one experience to another.” The Pivot is also the former name of The Royal Oak, a 200-year-old folk music venue and pub in Edinburgh. Clyne explains that her five-minute composition “quotes fragments of The Flowers of Edinburgh, a traditional fiddle tune of 18th-century Scottish lineage that is also prominent in American fiddle music and thus bridges between Edinburgh and St. Louis.”

Of the world premiere, The Scotsman raved, "The slimmed-down, socially distanced BBC Symphony Orchestra sounded rich, detailed and thoroughly convincing in the immense space, nowhere more so than in Anna Clyne’s PIVOT, the concert’s exuberant, sometimes raucous opener, which felt like a fittingly joyful explosion of energy at the return to live events.” The Telegraph agreed, "It takes real skill to compose something musically engaging that is also right for the occasion, and Clyne proved she has it in spades."

>  Further information on Work: Color Field

Photo: Christina Kernohan

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