Locklair: Learning from a Composer

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On May 4, the Northwest School of the Arts Chamber Ensemble (Charlotte, NC) presents the world premiere of Dan Locklair’s newest chamber work Canzona for the Music Makers conducted by Erica Hefner. Written for 15 players, the six-minute piece was commissioned by the Charlotte Symphony as part of the orchestra’s educational partnership with the school.

Chris Stonnell, the Charlotte Symphony’s Director of Education, offers some insight into the commission. “Our Locklair Canzona Charlotte Sym logoprofessional musicians work intensively with Northwest School of the Arts students throughout the year…to mentor and instruct them on their playing ability and overall development as musicians. [So] I felt it was important that the student musicians perform new works as a testament to the fact that classical music is alive and original works are still being written today.  I thought what better way to achieve this than to premiere a piece written exclusively for them.”

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Dan Locklair conducts Northwest School of the Arts students during a chamber music recital seminar.
Photo: John Graham; courtesy: Charlotte Symphony

Stonnell continues, “In my mind, there was no other composer but Dan Locklair to offer this commission to. Not only is Dan an acclaimed composer whose works are performed all over the world — but he is a North Carolina composer, and more specifically a Charlotte native. With Dan being local, it gave him the chance to come in and work directly with students from his hometown. It was critical for the students to have the experience of learning from a living, breathing composer as the work was shaped for performance. Dan has also been a strong supporter of the Charlotte Symphony for many years and this year we performed his Phoenix for Orchestraas part of our Classics Series. This turned out to be the perfect string to tie the whole project together as the Northwest students were able to hear the CSO perform one of Dan’s pieces live at the same time that they were working on his newest work back at school.”

Erica Holley Hefner,  Northwest School of the Arts orchestra director adds, “I am thrilled to have this opportunity…Dan Locklair wrote a beautiful and majestic piece that challenges the wonderful musicians from Northwest School of the Arts. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for [us], and we could not be more excited to premiere Canzona.”

For concert details, visit the Northwest School of the Arts.

Find out more about Dan Locklair.

Purchase Dan Locklair’s music.