Michael Torke - Composer
American Composer Michael Torke has been commissioned to create a piece of music to celebrate the Lake Placid Sinfonietta's Centennial year! This original work, "Sylvan," captures the essence of the environment we create in, as we are surrounded by the living forest. "Sylvan will be premiered at the July 9, 2017 Symphony Series concert.
SYLVAN (February 18, 2017 update)
Program Notes From the composer:
"Having spent several summers in the Adirondacks, the smell of the trees, as the cool air settles from the mountains to the lakes, has lingered as a piquant memory. The grandeur of the Eastern White pine, which at one time was used for the masts of ships; the color of the autumnal leaves of the Yellow Birch, and the use of the Red Spruce for not only Christmas trees, but whose tonal qualities in the wood make it ideal for violin making, contributed to my work to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lake Placid Sinfonietta. All in all, there is a soothing majesty about trees found in the Lake Placid region. We live in pluralistic, eclectic times—which make me want to limit my stylistic palette to as tight and concentrated as I can make it. To say something and to be heard require focus. What if I wrote a piece that had just one theme? The danger of this restriction could delimit the listener’s enjoyment. But what if we hear three themes, and underneath it all, each is actually coming from the same source, with its presentation disguised in such a way that they sound like completely fresh ideas? If such a plan could succeed, durability would flow from the unity of ideas, and the ear would sense a more cohesive, communicative voice. I’ve always believed that the tighter the relationships between the notes, the stronger a composition will be, the longer it will be valued through the vicissitudes of time’s judgment, and the more reliably we can respond emotionally to the music. With Sylvan, each of the three trees have their own distinct music, but everything is derived ultimately from the same series of notes, a kind of hummable tune that gradually emerges as the branches reach out to limbs and leaves." ~ Michael Torke
The music of Michael Torke has been called "some of the most optimistic, joyful and thoroughly uplifting music to appear in recent years" (Gramophone). Hailed as a "vitally inventive composer" (Financial Times) and "a master orchestrator whose shimmering timbral palette makes him the Ravel of his generation" (New York Times), Michael Torke has created a substantial body of works in virtually every genre.
Career highlights include: Color Music (1985–89), a series of orchestral pieces that each explore a single, specific color; Javelin, recorded both for Argo and for John William’s Summon the Heroes, the official 1996 Olympics album; Four Seasons, an oratorio commissioned by the Walt Disney Company to celebrate the millennium; Strawberry Fields, whose “Great Performances” broadcast was nominated for an Emmy Award; and two evening-length story ballets, The Contract, and An Italian Straw Hat, for James Kudelka and the National Ballet of Canada.
In 1998 Torke was Composer in Residence for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, for which he wrote and recorded Rapture, his percussion concerto, and An American Abroad, a tone poem. In 2003 Torke founded Ecstatic Records and re-issued the Decca/Argo catalog of his works. Recent recordings include Blue Pacific, Tahiti, and Miami Grands. The opera, Pop-pea, was commissioned and produced by Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, in 2012. Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned and recorded by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in 2014. Upcoming projects include new cello and piano concertos, premiered and recorded by the Albany Symphony, and two new ballets for the Milwaukee Ballet.