SNO Co-founder and founding Concertmaster Nicholas Bentz was interviewed as All-Classical WBJC's inaugural Student Composer of the Month. Podcast host John Scherch talks to Nick about his future plans as a composer and violinist, his history with launching Symphony Number One and his perspectives as a composer. Nick even discusses one of the seven "totems" that guided his compositional process as he created Approaching Eternity for Symphony Number One. Listen to the podcast below:
“Baltimore Prelude is a piece that summarizes my experience with the city of Baltimore. In my experience, Baltimore is a vibrant and energetic city, which I have enjoyed. The musical materials and fragments represent the highlights of my experience. Similar to the technique of montage in filmmaking, they are playfully interacting with each other and shifting the sonic image at a fast pace. It is a piece with energy and excitement, reflecting the various images of the city."
The question I most often get in regards to Approaching Eternity, is how one deals with composing a piece of its length. It doesn’t take much research to find that a piece combining the medium of a large chamber symphony with the breadth of an hour-long swath of time is a rarity in this period of music composition. It’s no fault of the composer here – many factors outside of the composer’s control (mostly economic) have contributed to the unfortunate and gaping hole in the repertoire that we now have, but now is the time to fill that space. But regardless, the composer of the 21st century isn’t normally expected to fulfill a commission like this, so how do we all go about it?
The piece is conceived as one large swath of music, with seven distinct sections that flow into each other without pause. Each of these sections is demarcated by a cryptic ‘totem’ that relates to a piece of visual art, poetry, literature, or even film, that served as a creative impetus for the section. The sections, when woven together, create a life cycle beginning with the first movement: Ode to the Abyss.
Our second Call for Scores is complete: congratulations to Martha Callison Horst and Nick Omiccioli for winning our top prize: commissions for our 2016-17 season. We evaluated a rich and satisfying array of unique voices, and these two stood out among the 120 entries. We also look forward to many exciting projects ahead for some of our finalists, so like us on Facebook for the latest announcements!