Friday, June 12, 2009

Orchestra of the League of Composers Debuts With 'adventurous music', Alvin Singleton Says

[Alvin Singleton (b. 1940)]

The day after the brand new Orchestra of the League of Composers premiered Alvin Singleton's After Choice, the composer took time out for an interview with AfriClassical before returning to Yaddo, the artist colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. This post covers the first part of the interview. The Brooklyn native said “I live in Atlanta and I am currently also a resident at Yaddo. I just came down this week for my premiere. I was supposed to be at Yaddo for the whole month.” We asked about the concert. The composer replied: “It was very successful," then added "We had a sell-out crowd and a program of really adventurous music.” “My piece was the only piece that was commissioned, but it wasn't the only premiere. There was a Charles Wuorinen premiere.” Critics were in attendance. The composer said he was expecting very favorable reviews.

We asked the origin of After Choice, his commissioned work. “After Choice, I wrote a piece for the American Composers Orchestra in 2004 for their Improvisation Festival.” “The orchestra piece was called When Given A Choice.” Part of the composition was “kind of a riff”, he said, “And so because I quoted something from that I named the new piece After Choice, and it's for string orchestra.”

Singleton dedicated the piece to a late friend of many years, “Leroy Jenkins, the composer, violinist and master improviser.” “He was such a decent person too, and we were very close.” Leroy Jenkins (1932-2007) dated and then married Linda Harris, a friend of Singleton, “...and by then, Leroy and I had developed a relationship, you know, he looked at my music and I looked at his music. We looked at scores together and we listened to recordings, went to concerts." The interview also touched on Alvin Singleton's trip to Albania in the Fall of 2008; Through It All, his recent commission from the Imani Winds; and his various composer residencies

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