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:
Nearly two years after its premiere, Symphony Number One co-founder again took up the Boss Saxophone concerto, this time with the University of Texas New Music Ensemble. Here is a video from that performance, which happened to take place the same night as Symphony Number One gave the premiere of Nicholas Bentz’s Approaching Eternity.
Our 2nd commercial release, Emergence, was an EP featuring Andrew Boss’ Saxophone Concerto. It is available in all formats on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.
Take a look at a new trove of photos from last April when we premiered Approaching Eternity by Nicholas Bentz in April of 2017 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore. Photo Credit: Dan Rorke.
Principal Cellist Mike Newman and cellist Rob Erb Kaufman perform Nick’s work with its challenging writing for strings.
Bassoonist Mateen Milan was an guest artist with the orchestra at the time, but later auditioned to join the group.
The composer in his own words: Nicholas Bentz gives a description of the basis for his sprawling new work, Approaching Eternity for Chamber Orchestra. just moments before the orchestra gives the second performances.
Take a look at this clip of Approaching Eternity, then learn more about our latest album (which includes Approaching Eternity), Approaching.
“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."
I’m thrilled to be joining Symphony Number One in my new role as Composer-In-Residence for the 2017-2018 season. I’ve admired their mission since their inception, and it’s great to be aboard. I would like to thank Jordan Randall Smith and the administrative team for this significant opportunity. We have a lot of great projects in the works and I’m looking forward to creating some memorable musical experiences in the coming year.
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.
FIRST LISTEN: Here's your first chance to hear Jonathan Russel's "Light Cathedral" in its entirety! Performed live at Light Street Presbyterian Church on April 9 and 10, 2016. Commissioned by Symphony Number One for Baltimore's inaugural Light City festival. Light Cathedral will be featured on our new album, More.
A letter from Principal Horn and Director of Development, Selena Maytum. "
We have had a wonderful year of performing new music, gathering new audiences, and working with some amazing composers. One highlight for me was performing John Adams' Son of Chamber Symphony. That piece was one of the first "modern" compositions that I fell in love with as a horn player, and it was great to work with Jordan and the rest of our ensemble to bring it to life last May."