NEW ORLEANS, LA. Nov.2009 The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is leading way in the first ever Global Commissioning Project among orchestras worldwide. The project, designed in the spirit of international cultural diplomacy, aims to join together 50-100 orchestras that will co-commission a new work for piano and orchestra by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, one of today’s most respected composers. Joining the LPO to date is the San Diego Symphony Orchestra (Southwest Premiere), the Louisville Orchestra, the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Key West Symphony Orchestra (Southeast Premiere).
Zwilich, who won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1983 for her Symphony No. 1, is “one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers.” Her works have been performed by most of the leading American orchestras and by major ensembles abroad. “I am honored that the Louisiana Philharmonic will give the premiere performance of my new work for piano and orchestra,” said Zwilich. “The symbolism surrounding this orchestra is nothing short of inspiring. Recently the orchestra and its remarkable conductor, Carlos Miguel Prieto, have given voice to the belief that it is possible to emerge stronger, even better-than-ever, from a tragic event like Hurricane Katrina. I find this indomitable spirit inspiring.”
The project is being spearheaded by Jeffrey Biegel, the critically-acclaimed pianist, composer and arranger. Biegel previously worked with Zwilich on the “Millennium Commissioning Project” in 2000, which consisted of 27 orchestras, making it the largest consortium of orchestras in the history of commissioning music. Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label, will release a CD of Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra in 2010.
“The Millennium Project’s success inspired me to expand the repertoire with new works by composers Charles Strouse, Lowell Liebermann, Richard Danielpour and William Bolcom. In seeing how the current economy has affected the arts and its contributors, I believe it is timely to join orchestras together again to give birth to a major work for piano and orchestra -- and, keep the project affordable for all concerned.”
When asked why the LPO was chosen to lead the consortium, Biegel added, “The history of New Orleans, from the Louisiana Purchase to current events of the region, give reason for the Louisiana Philharmonic to be the world premiere orchestra for this work. It is my goal that this project becomes recognized as an important contributing force in a worldwide effort to commission new music by the world's finest composers in the 21st century.”