Michael Gandolfi, Chair of NEC’s Composition faculty is the recipient of the Lancaster (PA) Symphony’s 2014 Composer’s Award. The award was presented to Gandolfi on the occasion of the orchestra’s performance of his Garden of the Senses Orchestral Suite, November 8—10 at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster.
The orchestral suite is taken from Gandolfi’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation, an ongoing series of movements that take their inspiration from Charles Jencks’ Garden in the Borders area of Southern Scotland. Covering 30 acres, the Garden comprises 40 major areas including themed gardens, bridges, landforms, sculptures, terraces, fences and architectural works. Jencks’ designs were suggested by wave theory, subatomic particles, the diversity of DNA, string theory, the Big Bang and expansion of our universe. Commissioned jointly by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Music Center, the Gandolfi work was premiered at Tanglewood and subsequently recorded by the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. That recording was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009.
Established in 1959, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer’s Award is the oldest award of its kind in the nation. Its purpose is to recognize and honor contemporary composers who are making a particularly significant contribution in the field of symphonic music, not only through their own creative efforts but also as effective personal advocates of new approaches to the broadening of critical and appreciative standards. While the judgment of any creative work ultimately rests upon the artist, it is nevertheless true that, in music as in other arts, appreciation often stems from personal association. The appearance of an outstanding composer before the more than 2,500 patrons of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra generates not only greater interest in his work but also a more appreciative hearing of contemporary music.
The Composer's Award is given as the key feature of a program designed to encourage and actively develop a special interest in modern music and contemporary composers on the part of the audiences of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, to the end that this Pennsylvania community may serve as an example in the advancement of greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary music everywhere.
The award is made in connection with a regular concert by the Lancaster Symphony at which a representative work of the composer being honored is performed. In the acceptance of the award, the composer gives a short talk, summarizing his/her individual approach to musical composition.