Galbraith: An Obvious Choice

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Photo courtesy: HoodleBug Brass


April 2016 brings three world premieres for Nancy Galbraith.

On the 10th, the HoodleBug Brass ensemble joins the Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic for the first performance of Galbraith’s Concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra. Commissioned by both organizations, the work is a tribute to the city of Pittsburgh and its historic standing in the American steel industry. Trombonist Christian Dickinson offers some insight into Galbraith’s pieGalbraith Brass 5tet PYPO Pittsburgh Posterce. “When the members of the HoodleBug Brass (the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Music Department’s brass quintet in residence) began to consider composers for [our] quintet and orchestra commission, the name that came to the top of that list was Pittsburgh’s own Nancy Galbraith. Her gift for using classic forms in a completely contemporary setting, and her understanding of the needs of young orchestral musicians made Ms. Galbraith an obvious choice. The resulting Concerto features a variety of styles: the fusion sound of the first movement; the beautifully melodic second movement, and the declamatory finale. The HoodleBug Brass are excited and honored to perform this premiere with [conductor] Roger Tabler and the phenomenal Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.”

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On the 23rd, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble premieres Galbraith’s Dancing Through Time. The three-movement, 20-minute work is a concerto for Baroque flute and viola. The performance features Baroque flutist Stephen Schultz and violist David Harding, conducted by Daniel Nesta Curtis.

Rounding out the month on April 30th, The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and soloist Kevin Glavin premiere Galbraith’s Smoke at Steel at the historic Carrie Furnace site (Braddock, PA), led by Thomas Douglas. Commissioned by the ensemble, the 60-minute, multi-movement work for baritone, SATB choir and chamber orchestra is based after Carl Sandburg’s 1922 gritty poem of the same name. The composer chose to set Sandburg’s narrative because of its colorful language. Featuring movement titles like “Ghosts Hide in Steel,” “Luck Moons Come and Go,” and “Pearl Cobwebs in the Windy Rain,” Galbraith paints a tonal musical portrait of the once thriving steel industry of early 20th-century Pittsburgh and its surrounding towns. Program repeats on May 1st.