#15– November 04, 2019
Symphony No 1 – “Leunig’s Prayer Book” for Wind Symphony
Australian composer, educator and advocate for diversity Jodie Blackshaw is the author of our November 4th Composition of the Week.
Blackshaw’s Symphony No 1 is “inspired by four prayers as published by Australian poet and political commentator Michael Leunig in his book “When I talk to you”. The prayers are an allegory for life’s challenges and explore our journey from light, through darkness, to faith.”
The titles of each of the four movements, evoking this “life cycle”, are derived from Leunig’s prayers celebrating the arrival of a new season: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
Symphony No 1 was commissioned by the Australian Wind Band Commissioning Consortium and was premiered early this year by the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony under John Lynch. The American premiere took place at Saint Olaf, Minnesota, under Timothy Mahr.
Blackshaw’s symphony has a duration of about 25 minutes and calls for a large ensemble, including contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon, soprano saxophone, a large percussion ensemble, as well as a solo Baritone voice and a solo acoustic guitar (only on the 3rd movement).
“In terms of scope and aspiration Blackshaw’s symphony is a major work, inflating Leunig’s endearing line drawings and affecting poetry to almost Mahlerian proportions” Vincent Plush, Limelight Magazine March 2019.
Jodie Blackshaw (1971) grew up in the Riverina, NSW, Australia, and after completing high school, studied a Bachelor of Music in Composition with Professor Larry Sitsky at the Australian National University, School of Music. She recently concluded a Doctorate in Musical Arts (Composition) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
In December 2012, Jodie presented the clinic ‘Get off the Podium’ alongside Dr. Mark Fonder of Ithaca College and conductor Professor Craig Kirchhoff at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. This clinic, advocating her unique compositional style and inclusive teaching approach to the ensemble, offered directors opportunities to explore musical elements other than melody and harmony.
Jodie Blackshaw resides in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia and works full-time as a composer and appears as a guest clinician and adjudicator for band festivals throughout Australia.
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