The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) presents a free, evening length concert in honor of American composer Robert Erickson (1917-1997). As part of BMOP's new Composer Retrospectives series, this special event features a cornucopia of Erickson's works ranging from his piece Auroras (1994) for full symphony orchestra to the lesser known Night Music (1978). Other program highlights include: Fantasy for cello and orchestra (1954) with Rafael Popper-Keizer; and East of the Beach (1980).
While continuing its mandate of performing, commissioning, and recording new music of the 21st century, BMOP also strives to focus on earlier contemporary music from the 20th century. "Composers Retrospectives" is a series of orchestral concerts devoted to rediscovering unique and significant works of composers whose voices need to be heard. Gil Rose, BMOP's Artistic Director and Conductor, has a well-earned reputation for curating single composer concerts for great artists such as George Rochberg, Bernard Rands, John Harbison, and Lukas Foss, to name a few. However, he feels BMOP has an equally important responsibility to spotlight lesser known composers. "Our new 'Composer Retrospectives' series provides an opportunity for BMOP to reintroduce both out-of-vogue composers, as well as forgotten orchestral music," says Rose. "Erickson is a perfect example of this group. While he is well known on the West coast, he has not received the attention he deserves, perhaps because he did not belong to any one group of his generation. We hope to correct this by presenting a program that showcases not only the variety of his repertoire but also its undeniable value to orchestral composition today."
Robert Erickson was a distinguished American composer and teacher who was a modernist exponent of "12-tape" composition. He was one of the first American composers to work extensively with sounds recorded on tape, both as stand-alone works and as combined with live performers on conventional instruments. He also wrote innovative music requiring improvisation by both solo instruments and ensembles and has used invented instruments such as stroking rods, electronic tape composition, tube drums, and the Percussion Loops Console. He composed for virtually every medium except opera, and during his lifetime his work was frequently performed and commissioned by the Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles Symphony Orchestras, the American Composers Orchestra, and such celebrated ensembles such as the Arch Ensemble, Continuum, the Kronos Quartet, and SONOR. He received fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and, in 1985, the Friedheim Award for chamber music for his string quartet Solstice, which performed at the Kennedy Center. Erickson published two books: The Structure of Music: A Listener's Guide in 1957 and Sound Structures in Music in 1975. Erickson taught at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, San Francisco State College, University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco Conservatory and co-founded the music department at the University of California San Diego.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP)
Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Gil Rose, BMOP strives to illuminate the connections that exist between both contemporary music and society by reuniting composers and audiences in a shared concert experience. The 2007-2008 BMOP season offers no fewer than 10 world premieres. In addition, BMOP launches its signature recording label BMOP/sound with the 2008 release of five new albums by composers John Harbison, Michael Gandolfi, Gunther Schuller, Lee Hyla, and Charles Fussell. In just 11 years, BMOP has received nine ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Orchestral Music including the 2006-2007 ASCAP Award for Programming of Contemporary Music, and the 2006 American Symphony Orchestra League's John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music.