In preparing to write his Violin Concerto (Katrina) which premieres this week with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Theodore Wiprud had something of a research advantage. As Director of Education for the New York Philharmonic, he had an up close look at quite a few works in that genre. “I became a student of all violin concerti, Wiprud said. “and was fortunate to hear a good dozen of them performed at the New York Philharmonic over the past season. I kept Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn scores handy, but the two that were always in my ear were the Gyorgy Ligeti and the John Adams. To anyone who knows those pieces I think the debt will be fairly clear.”
The concert has something of an American theme with the Concerto sharing the stage with Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Aaron Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo. In the case of the Concerto, it was the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans that infiltrates the work with regional musical styles. “The musical side of the Katrina story is so compelling – the richness of the whole Delta region musically, and the impact the flood had on whole communities of musicians.”
Wiprud was asked to write the work by violinist Ittai Shapira, who will perform the premiere. My full preview of that concert appears in this week’s METRO PULSE.
One of Wiprud’s best known works is Hosannas of the Second Heaven for Orchestra.
Album Info: Fire in Heaven & Earth, Albany Records, TROY1267