THE COMPANION GUIDE TO ROME (2010)
Duration: 30 minutes
Instrumentation: String Trio
Commissioned by Scharoun Ensemble
Premiered by the Scharoun Ensemble on 6 May 2010 at The American Academy in Rome, Italy
Copyright/Publisher Information: Schott Music Corporation
The composer writes:
Like many of the buildings in Rome, this piece is the product of a long gestation marked by numerous renovations, accretions, and ground-up reconstructions. What has emerged is a collection of portraits—nine in all—of my favorite Roman churches. The music is, at different times and in different ways, informed by the proportions of the churches, the qualities of their surfaces, the patterns in their floors, the artwork on their walls, and the lives and legends of the saints whose names they bear. The more I worked on these miniatures, the less they had to do with actual buildings and the more they became character studies of imaginary people, my companions for a year of living in the Eternal City.
About the composer:
Andrew Norman (b. 1979) is a composer of chamber and orchestral music. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Andrew studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale. His teachers and mentors include Martha Ashleigh, Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Stewart Gordon, Aaron Kernis, Ingram Marshall and Martin Bresnick.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world. His music explores the act of interpretation in classical music and draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds, notational practices, and non-linear narrative structures to do so. His distinctive voice has been cited in the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and in the L.A. Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.
Norman’s symphonic works, often noted for their clarity and physicality, have been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras worldwide, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. His music has been championed by some of the classical music’s eminent conductors, including Gustavo Dudamel, John Adams, Marin Alsop, Simon Rattle and David Robertson.
In recent seasons, Norman’s chamber music has been featured at the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge, the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Green Umbrella Series, and the Aspen Music Festival. In May of 2010, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble presented a portrait concert of Andrew’s music entitled “Melting Architecture.”
Norman is the recipient of the 2005 ASCAP Nissim Prize, the 2006 Rome Prize and the 2009 Berlin Prize. He joined the roster of Young Concert Artists as Composer in Residence in 2008, and held the title “Komponist für Heidelberg” for the 2010-2011 season. He served for two years as Composer in Residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and is currently Composer in Residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia. Norman’s 30-minute string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
He recently finished a symphony-length orchestra piece, Play, as well as a piano concerto for Emanuel Ax. Upcoming projects include collaborations with the Calder Quartet, eighth blackbird, Jeremy Denk, Jeffrey Kahane, Colin Currie and Jennifer Koh.
Norman recently moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, where he teaches at the University of Southern California and is learning to take sunshine for granted. His works are published by Schott Music.
For more information about Andrew Norman visit andrewnormanmusic.com