Teenagers on the Pine Ridge and Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservations, in South Dakota, have composed exquisite, highly personal pieces through the Composition Academies I had the opportunity to lead. As Music Alive Composer-In-Residence with the South Dakota Symphony, I worked with them, alongside other gifted composer-mentors, for a week each in the summer, then returned in September to help rehearse their pieces for the remarkable Dakota String Quartet and Dakota Wind Quintet (SDSO principals) and present them in public venues and at their high schools on the reservations. See a Facebook Live broadcast here.
And now I’m deep into composing my own work, inspired by all my time in South Dakota. In a lovely luxury, the SDSO will hold workshop reading of my work in progress with a small audience who get to see the creative process in action. We’ll include excerpts of some standard rep that’s inspired me, or relates to what I’m after.
The residency in South Dakota just keeps on inspiring me. It’s a model orchestra in terms of being embedded in its statewide community in innovative ways, and its commitment to new music at the heart of that. Hats off to Delta David Gier, longtime music director and visionary there! Pictured: Dakota Wind Quintet with young composer Maya Eagle.