Kander: “Miranda” Debuts Down Under

“I want to present ‘The Orchestra’ the way I see it: as the greatest team sport I know of.”

On the eve of its May 7 Australian premiere, Susan Kander shares some insight into Miranda’s Waltzas Kevin Purcell conducts the Australian Discovery Orchestra. Scored for narrator and orchestra, the 26-minute, seven-movement work features texts by Mary Hall Surface, and was commissioned by the National Symphony. Miranda’s Waltz is a vehicle for young audiences to hear orchestral sounds through ‘Miranda,’ as she learns about and experiences life. The work will be presented in Melbourne as part of the 2017 Victoria Arts Learning Festival. The concert will be live-streamed internationally as part of the orchestra’s commitment to innovation and engaging audiences worldwide. Also available is an immersive, pre-concert interactive 3-D experience for live audience members and online attendees. View the storyboard here, and learn more about the interactive details here.

Kander continues. “From the very beginning, my choice for Miranda’s Waltz was not to write an introduction to the instruments or even the families of the orchestra. I chose, rather, to explore the orchestra as a whole in all its flexibility and color…I [also] wanted to celebrate and introduce to young people to the specific sounds and styles that America has given to the world in the last century or so. My sources and inspirations range from Charles Ives to Duke Ellington, to Loony Tunes to contemporary Big Band, to John Adams and to American musical theater — styles of music that children (and grown ups) will hear throughout their lives and which are uniquely American [musical] contributions…

Lastly, I wanted Music – with a capital ‘M’ – to be the point of the piece, not just its medium. Mary Hall Surface provided this point exquisitely in her story. Miranda, herself, is the antithesis of that famous wolf-bagger Peter: Miranda is small, doubtful, uninterested in the larger world when we meet her. She goes to her neighborhood park and meets something/someone that is even smaller than she is: a little brown mouse. Though this mouse is not a talking mouse, and we never see him, he uses music to teach Miranda to open both her ears and her mind to the larger world around her…that’s what music does for me, every day.”

Afterward, Purcell and the Australian Discovery Orchestra take Miranda’s Waltz to Rotterdam to be featured during the 2017 NEXT Conference.