Bravo! Vail Collaborates With 5 Composers To Premiere New Music

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Photo: Bravo Vail audience watches Dallas Symphony
The Dallas Symphony performs at Bravo! Vail.

Four world-class orchestras will once again make their way to the Bravo! Vail music festival this summer to play the great masterworks -- and also to make a statement that music written today is worth hearing.

The festival commissioned from bassist and composer Edgar Meyer a new work for the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The musicians performed the piece this week at Bravo! Vail's opening night.

A renowned festival needs to complement great works of the past by bringing new music to life, Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott says.

“It’s incredibly important to hear from composers of our time who are living, who are creating, who are reacting to the world around them,” McDermott says. “The festival is now 30 years old. It was time to jump-start this in a much bigger way.”

Meyer is one of five composers Bravo! Vail asked to write pieces that will premiere this summer at the festival. Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra wrote a brand new piece that the Dallas Symphony will premiere, and French composer Guillaume Connesson wrote his latest work for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Photo: Anne-Marie McDermott
Pianist and Bravo! Vail artistic director Anne-Marie McDermott

McDermott says she’s excited for the audiences to hear these world premieres. But on a personal note, she’s excited to hear the music develop.

She loves talking with composers about the concept of an unwritten piece, the anticipation before she holds the score in her hands for the first time and the work to learn the new music in rehearsal. It all culminates in a world premiere -- "that incredible moment when the composer himself first hears his piece,” she says.

“Because they can imagine it in their mind, in their musical ear, but they’ve never heard it," she adds. "So to have a composer sitting there hearing their piece for the first time is a huge privilege and really exciting.”

McDermott says the festival plans to premiere more music during its upcoming seasons.

The Bravo! Vail music festival kicked off its 30th season Thursday. Find more information about it and the many other classical festivals throughout Colorado this summer in CPR's summer classical music festival guide.