Quintets of the Future

It can take a little while to answer the simple question, what are you working on right now? On the drafting table now is a quintet in an emerging series joining a string quartet with a very different instrument. The first two were Korean traditional instruments – Mudang for p’iri and string quartet, Nonghyun for gayageum and string quartet. Now, it’s a piece for percussion and string quartet. And not marimba, but unpitched (like drums) and slightly pitched (like pieces of wood and empty bottles) instruments. These pieces challenge me to stretch the quartet in new directions, and challenge players to realize the sounds I imagine. The music so far is both mystical and earthy – income ways a continuation of my fascination with the

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More Music from Indian Teens

For the second summer, I’ve piloted the South Dakota Symphony’s Music Composition Academies for teens living on the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Sisseton Reservations, and in Rapid City.  Jeff Paul and Michael Begay again joined me as inspiring faculty.  Almost every young composer who participated last year returned along with fascinating new recruits.  In all, we now have 19 new works, some dealing head-on with tragedies facing indigenous peoples, some evoking aspects of the composers’ lives, some just downright fun to listen to.  They will all be performed in September by the Dakota String Quartet or Dakota Wind Quintet – every note and marking having been determined by the young composers – in public venues in Spearfish and Sisseton, and in the high schools of every young composer.  Word is

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Wind of Many Voices

It’s finally here, the premiere of my major work for the South Dakota Symphony, Wind of Many Voices.  It responds to my travels and adventures all over the state, which have continued apace since I finished the piece in December.  Most recently, I’ve been driving all over both Dakotas hunting down my ancestors’ homes, in the dead of winter.  I’ve experienced the raw power of the traditional Lakota drum and singers, arranging music for the orchestra to play to accompany them (the only time the orchestra has gotten drowned out by the voices).  And I’ve heard, all in one performance, the music of the 20 teenaged composers I’ve worked with, from three reservations and two cities, writing from the heart.  Now, I give back from

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Finished! But Untitled

It Is Finished.  My new work for the South Dakota Symphony, that is.  The reading workshop we had in October was a huge help in clarifying my ideas, including listener comments about the role of the wind in the images I described as inspiration for the sketches.  My travels in South Dakota – experiencing both landscapes and cultures – inform the piece, but it’s not at all narrative or site-specific.   Sixteen minutes long, for a medium-sized orchestra, the score is now with my faithful longtime copyist Francois Grillot,  getting pretty for its debut March 23 in Sioux Falls.  Aside from proofing,  my only remaining task is to settle at last on a title… stay tuned!  

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Open Rehearsal on a Work in Progress

What a day it was at the South Dakota Symphony. As part of my Music Alive residency, a workshop reading of my new piece in progress, complete with an eager, engaged audience. The orchestra tried out different versions and offered advice, and impressions from the audience reminded me how much people’s experience of music can vary.  See my new blog post for more reflections.  And here, enjoy a shot of our youngest attendees, a whole family who had never been to the orchestra before.  What a way for these little guys to start, hearing short bits of music (including standard rep excerpts that inspired or relate to my efforts) all broken down by the composer. Thank you conductor David Gier, and all the musicians of

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Upcoming Events


American Violin Concertos

american violin concertos theodore wiprud ittai shapira katrina

Violin Concerto (Katrina) performed by Ittai Shapira and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

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gamin nong theodore wiprud

The first recording of Wiprud's Mudang for p'iri and strings, by dedicatee gamin and string quartet ETHEL.

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Fire In Heaven And Earth

fire in heaven and earth theodore wiprud

The first recording devoted to the composer's work, featuring four works of vocal, chamber, and orchestral music.

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