It’s an adagio, about 5-6’, called DNR, written in memory of my mother. It just so happens this commission and one other both came in during the same week, right around the time of the death of my mother one year ago, and of another family member four years ago. I have wanted to write something for them both for some time now, and to write something about these two very difficult and unexpected experiences. This project gave me the opportunity to write one of those pieces.
What interested you about writing for the Maroon Trio? How are you addressing writing for such an unusual instrumentation?
Initially, I was interested in their unique instrumentation, and also of hopefully having the first performance of my music in Kansas City. After having listened to recordings of performances by each of the players, I was excited to write for them because they are all really fantastic performers.
I addressed composing for such an unusual instrumentation by telling myself it was not an unusual instrumentation, it was a trio, so let’s see what I can come up with.
What are you most excited about in the piece you're writing for the Maroon Trio?
Compositionally, the sonority (and by extension the atmosphere) I’ve attempted create in the work, by utilizing and combining some of my favorite sounds and techniques of these instruments.
Aesthetically, I feel this piece represents both the culmination of a kind of piece, a kind of music, I’ve been trying to write for some time now, and perhaps simultaneously, a new musical language and compositional style in my work.
Your work will be performed in Kansas City.What impressions, if any, do you have about new music in the midwestern United States.
I just had the first performance of my music in Chicago, and was well aware of that city's thriving contemporary music scene. I know about new music in Kansas City mostly through composers I’ve met or worked with who have had some connection to the University’s music/composition department. I'm hoping to be able to fly out for the performance and check things out in person.
Widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, Gregg Wramagehas been both a finalist for the Rome Prize and a two-time semi-finalist for Opera Philadelphia's Composer-in-Residence program. He recently completed a commission from The Barlow Endowment for “The Sea-longing”, a chamber concerto for violist Brett Deubner, who will perform the work in 2015 with conductor Renee Baker and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project—the culmination of a two-year residency with the ensemble that will also feature the Chicago premieres of Mr. Wramage’s first symphony, and as part of a New Music USA/League of American Orchestras Music Alive: New Partnerships residency grant, “in shadows, in silence”. “La tristesse durera”, a recent orchestral work premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, received both the 2007 Copland House Sylvia Goldstein Award and the 2008 international EAMA Prize--a $10,000 award. Millennium Symphony’s recording of “La tristesse durera” was released in 2008, on ERM Media’s “Made in the Americas” series. “The Sunset Maker”, a recent stage work for actor and ensemble, was premiered in June 2013 at the Music With a View and Make Music New York festivals in New York.
In addition to having been awarded the Aspen Music Festival Druckman Prize, the NMYE Josef Alexander Award, the Delius Festival Award, the Starer Prize, the Katz Composition Prize, and a N.J. State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, Mr. Wramage has also been a finalist for the 2006 National Association for Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Contest, the 2007 Utah Arts Festival Commission for Chamber Ensemble, and the 2009 Loudon Symphony Orchestra American Composers Competition. His music has been performed by performed by Music With a View, 3rd Sundays @ 3, Boston New Music Initiative, Alarm Will Sound, Aspen Sinfonia, eighth blackbird, Collage New Music, New Jersey Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Friends and Enemies of New Music, American Composers Orchestra, American Opera Projects, Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, Third Millennium Ensemble, and North/South Consonance, and he has been a fellow at Yaddo, Copland House, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Atlantic Center for the Arts. His works have been recorded on Capstone Records and published by Southern Music, and he has received grants from American Music Center and Meet the Composer.
Born in 1970 in Belmar, New Jersey, Mr. Wramage began studying composition at the age of 20. He received his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Richard Danielpour, and his DMA from the CUNY Graduate Center where he studied with David Del Tredici and George Tsontakis. He currently resides with his wife in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, works as an editor for RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, and serves on the music faculties of Caldwell College, the John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University; and Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts.
We really look to create and promote new music in Kansas City. It’s more about the creation; I’m not interested really in being a promoter. It’s about getting people to make new work and support them in that.
Last month I gave an fairly lengthy interview about Black House and Kansas City music for the Wing Walker Podcast. I just want to thank Drew Williams for the opportunity to talk about myself so much. :) Anyways I encourage you all to check it out here.