Work by SUNY Orange Conductor Selected for New Music Readings for African-American Composers Program

PHOTO: Kevin ScottMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – An original orchestral composition written by Kevin Scott, conductor of the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band, as a tribute to the memory of tennis legend Arthur Ashe has been selected as one of four works to be included in the 2014 New Music Readings for African-American Composers program sponsored by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of the American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot program.

Scott’s “A Point Served…(In Rememberance Arthur Ashe)” will be read by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday, March 9 at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall. The New Music Readings program is designed as an opportunity for emerging composers to develop their works with a professional orchestra and is being held in conjunction with the DSO’s “Classical Roots” celebration.

Scott was among four composers chosen from a national candidate pool. Jonathan Bailey Holland of Boston, Mass., Erica Lindsay of Rosendale, N.Y. and Matthew Evan Taylor of Miami, Fla., were selected alongside Scott. A fifth composer, Marion L. Harrison of Atlanta, Ga., was selected but will be unable to attend.

As part of the program, each composer’s symphonic work will be workshopped and then read by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, led by DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin. Readings are free and open to the public, and include feedback from Slatkin, principal DSO musicians, and mentor composers Bright Sheng, Gabriela Lena Frank, Derek Bermel and Carman Moore. In addition, professional development workshops with leading professionals in the field will be offered on Monday, March 10 from 1 to 7 p.m. The workshops will be attended by the participating composers, but are also free and open to the public.

“A Point Served…(In Rememberance Arthur Ashe)” is scored for an augmented chamber orchestra of winds in pairs, three horns, two trumpets, two trombones, tuba, two percussionists, harp, piano and strings.

“When the world of tennis lost Arthur Ashe to AIDS in February of 1993, it lost not only one of the sport’s finest players, but also a role model for African-Americans, a man who publicly fought racism and other obstacles to achieve his goal in his chosen profession,” Scott says. “Moved by his untimely passing, I decided to compose a work in remembrance of his participation in tennis, as well as his role in the civil rights movement, his quiet dignity and his internal struggle with the disease that took his life.”

Scott, conductor of the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band since 2006, has written numerous original works. He was the recipient of the 1992 Detroit Symphony/Unisys African American Composers Forum award and his “Fanfare G.A.F.: An American Overture” was premiered by the Queens Philharmonic in 1984. In 1989, Scott was appointed resident composer for the RAPP Arts Center in Manhattan, writing scores for various theatrical productions including Thomas A. Ditsch’s “Ben-Hur” and new adaptations of Chekov’s “The Sea Gull” and “Uncle Vanya.”

Scott has studied composition with John Corigliano and Ulysses Kay at Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx, and at the Mannes College of Music with Christine Berl and David Tcimpidis, in addition to conducting with Yakov Kreizberg.

In addition to his works for orchestra and theatre, Scott has composed music for chorus, wind ensemble, chamber ensemble and voice, as well as music for numerous independent films. His sixth string quartet from 1995 was the product of the first William Grant Still Memorial Commission, sponsored by St. Augustine’s College and Duke University, and was premiered by the Ciompi Quartet.

Scott’s thoughts as a composer and conductor are reflected in William Banfield’s book “Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers,” published by Greenwood Press.

The ACO’s programs increase opportunities for American composers and generate broader awareness of their work by identifying bright emerging composers and championing prominent established artists. To date, ACO has performed music by more than 600 composers, including more than 200 world premieres and commissioned works. Many ACO-commissioned composers have gone on to win important prizes such as the Pulitzer, Guggenheim Fellowship and Prix de Rome.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940