Celebrating An American Victory In Music

Sep 6, 2013

Adam Schoenberg, following the world premiere of American Symphony.
Credit Vanessa Maldenado / adamschoenberg.com

The life of modern composers is not easy.  Orchestras usually perform their music alongside masterworks from composers like Mozart or Hayden or Copland.  That’s because most audiences only want to hear great works.  Mostly likely, they’ll patiently endure a new piece that took months, if not years, to perfect.  It’s an experience felt by Composer Adam Schoenberg, as he created his American Symphony.

"The genesis of the work dates all the way back to November of 2008, right after President Obama was elected.   You know for me, at that stage of my life as an adult it was really the first election in my lifetime that I felt very much a part of and so I felt this civic duty to try to contribute to bringing more positive change to our country and the best way I can do that is through my music,” Said Schoenberg.

Since writing his American Symphony in 2009, Schoenberg has made some 300 revisions.  Still, he insists, that's not unusual.

"Believe me, I could go back and revise all of my works but I've chosen not to. I think I would become incredibly obsessive at that point if I went back to all of my pieces,” said Schoenberg.

Over the next year, Schoenberg serves as the composer-in-residence for both the Lexington Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington.   And in two weeks, his American Symphony is performed at the Singletary Center by the Lexington Philharmonic. 

Its performance comes at the beginning a national tour.  The American Symphony Project will have the newly re-worked piece performed in all 50 States. In addition to the exposure, Schoenberg hopes the tour’s timing will also benefit the nation’s troubled symphony orchestras…

“After the piece was premiered, we learned about orchestras going on strike, I mean you look at now there are so many orchestras that are just struggling.  With the project being launched, it was a way for my publisher to reduce rental rates, to make the piece more affordable,” said Schoenberg.

Management at the Lexington Philharmonic is familiar with his work.  The composer and Philharmonic Music Director Scott Terrell are regulars at the annual Aspen Music Festival.   As a result, the Lexington will be the first stop on the American Symphony’s two year tour.

The Lexington Philharmonic was one of the first orchestras to join. And that’s a testament to my work with Scott and his commitment to bring new music to the area which is really fantastic.”

As a composer-in-residence, Schoenberg returns to Kentucky next year to debut two pieces – one for the Lexington Philharmonic and one with for the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington.

Adam Schoenberg’s American Symphony is featured in the Lexington Philharmonic’s 2013 – 2014 season-opening concert Friday September 20th at the University of Kentucky's Singletary Center.