Sierra: Color, Energy and Nuance

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“I am drawn to Roberto Sierra’s music because of many things, but mostly [to] his use of color, energy and nuance.” Mark Scatterday — conductor (Eastman School of Music) and clinician — explains Sierra’s appeal as he highlights the composer’s music in his March 12 clinic “Transcribing for the 21st-century Wind Ensemble.” The session is part of the College Band Directors National Association 2016 Eastern Division Conference (CBDNA), which runs from March 10 – 12 at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. Featured Sierra works include: Fandangos; Alegría; Sinfonia No. 3, and Carnaval.

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Mark Scatterday

Scatterday continues. “[This] session deals with wind transcriptions, [and] focuses on what to look for and how to re-score without taking anything away from the original while maintaining the musical genius and integrity. The first half deals with composers like Gabrieli, Bach and Debussy and music that is off the ‘beaten trail.’ The second half discusses my transcriptions of Roberto’s music — certainly music that is very popular today with orchestras and [now] — within the last 10 years — more and more with wind ensembles.

“The music I look for in transcriptions is usually already very wind- and percussion-based. Roberto’s music is so naturally well scored for these instruments that a wind transcription works almost seamlessly — you very rarely Sierra-Scatterday CBDNA supplimentmiss the string parts especially in the works that I chose to feature. The wonderful nationalism and rhythmic drive of Roberto’s music goes right in line with the historical use of wind and percussion instruments. So, hearing his music played by a wind ensemble makes so much sense — it’s almost like these works now have two lives and they equally capture Roberto Sierra’s musical essence.”

In addition to the Sierra clinic, Scatterday — along with clinician Frank Ticheli — also presents the session “Commissioning for the High School Band,” featuring the Baldwin Wind Symphony’s (Long Island, NY) performance of Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Moravec’s Change at Jamaica.