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Duration - 9'
Instrumentation - Full orch -      
2+pic.2+ca.2+bcl.2 - - perc(3) - pno - strings

Orchestral music is particularly vulnerable to market forces: hiring performers, renting a large space, marketing, administration, etc, all necessitate a large flow of income that, at least in America, is largely supplied by ticket sales and other private sources (such as donations). This makes it particularly prone to commodification. If concertgoers desire predictable repertoire in an “elevated” social setting, this is what the orchestra will deliver—ironic, given that the large size of the orchestra as we know it today comes from a need for greater means of compositional expression.


How, then, should composers today approach orchestral writing? The musical language of the composer is almost always at odds with the product that the orchestra is expected to provide to the audience. Barring some sort of change in the ways that funding is secured, either the orchestra should be left to pursue its current trajectory of becoming a platform solely for the “classics” (which will eventually strip them of all meaning they once had and reduce them to set pieces), or else the relationship between the composer and the audience should be re-examined entirely.


Projections attempts to challenge this relationship in a way that can’t be avoided or abstracted away. The piece begins with a semantically dead pointillistic texture from which a relatively “easy” brand of neo-romantic orchestral music emerges. This music gradually turns inward on itself, eventually collapsing into something much more literal.


Performed by Jeffrey Milarsky and the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall on 3/27/23 as one of the winners of the Juilliard Orchestra Composition Competition

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