Pacific Symphony is pleased to announce the world premiere of a new work by the Emmy Award-winning composer, John Wineglass. He has composed a violin concerto to be played by concertmaster Dennis Kim on the Tchaikovsky & Strauss programs, Feb. 23-25. Wineglass took time to share his thoughts on the new work,

Composer’s Notes

Commissioned by the Pacific Symphony for concertmaster Dennis Kim and sponsored by Dr. Daniel Temianka and Dr. Zeinab Dabbah, Joshua Tree: Scenes from the Mojave Concerto for Violin and Orchestra commemorates the beautiful yet challenging landscape of Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert.

During the creative process and research for a previous 30-minute work and premiere, Voices of The West for Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (SATB), in the 2018-2019 season, I came across and was intrigued by the national treasure of Joshua Tree situated on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert in Southern California. While the context of the aforementioned work took on another direction, I knew one day I would codify this striking landscape in the language of music as it continues to have a profound impact and vast impression on my scope of life and Creation.

The opening movement entitled “Desert Sun to Night Crawlers” describes my all-day-and-night maiden voyage hike into Joshua Tree that experienced everything from blinding sun desolation with little water as an East Coast city-boy novice to the night creatures of the desert nights. It also encapsulates my many drives watching sunsets as (phenomenally) temperatures actually rise driving deeper into and across the darkness of the Mojave Desert from the West Coast.

The second movement opens up to an early morning dawn with playful desert creatures by day coupled with breathtaking majestic views of ridges, river basins with seas of purple blooming beaver-tail cactus, and sea floors carved by former ocean waters…quite sobering when one thinks about the number of centuries it took to create this landscape.

The third movement opens with big (slow) and deliberate glissandi from the lower registered instruments of the entire orchestra and subsequent theme describing the sanctuary of ancient giant rock formations peppered with Joshua trees (hence the name of the area) all-throughout the epic north main entrance in route to the remote city of Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County.

This movement then explodes into a “fleeting and sprightly” violin hoe-down jostling between 7/8 and 4/4 meters moving along at a fast BPM (beats per minute) of 165 with a final giant climatic ending of various thematic ideas from throughout the entire work with hemiolas and augmented gestures of those motifs signifying the emergence of the new frontier of settlers.

Commissioned by the Pacific Symphony for concertmaster Dennis Kim for the 2022-2023 season conducted by the esteemed Carl St. Clair, commemorating the beautiful, yet challenging landscape of Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert.

May this work open space for one to continue to contemplate and consider our planet, its universe, and the beauty of Creation.

Read more about John Wineglass here.


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