EarShot Columbus Symphony: Composer Spotlight – Rosalie Burrell

Composer Rosalie Burrell’s (b. 1988) music has been performed at some of the country’s most esteemed venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. She is also Artistic Coordinator, Composer and Orchestrator at The Little Orchestra Society, a chamber orchestra that performs for young families and children at venues that have included maximum-security prisons, hospital wards, veteran rehabilitation facilities, and schools. Her piece Paved with Gold was selected for the American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Readings, and will be performed in Columbus Symphony’s Happy Hour Concerts Series, Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Ohio Theater.

Rosalie was kind enough to answer a few questions for SoundAdvice.

Composer Rosalie Burrell

American Composers Orchestra: What was your reaction to hearing Paved with Gold had been selected for the EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Readings?
Rosalie Burrell: I was completely excited and grateful. Its an incredible opportunity to be able to workshop a score with this amount of care, you just don’t come around that kind of time with an orchestra so often. Many of the composers I admire have workshopped their pieces in various ACO programs, and so this feels like a rite of passage in some sense. I’m beyond thrilled to work with the Columbus Symphony and mentor composers this week.

ACO: For the last two years you have been closely involved with The Little Orchestra Society, a chamber orchestra that performs for young families and children. Has the experience of curating music to families and children changed your compositional approach at all?
RS: Curating in a general sense has certainly shaped some of my artistic concerns, though I can’t say that anything to do with that particular audience has changed my approach to composition. Through programming and concert going for instance, I’ve become very interested in the first sound of a piece. In some cases I have an immediate connection with the music from the first bar. And that’s a very refreshing feeling, when my first reaction is a hushed: “Ohh.” In positioning pieces on a program, I’m often looking for those moments. In composing, I’m doing the same. Choosing sounds that I love, connecting and revitalizing them — they can be surprising or familiar.  That renewable energy is something I’m after in all areas of my work.

ACO: What do you hope to learn or improve upon at the EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Readings? Is there anything in particular you feel needs improvement in Paved with Gold?
RS: I’m very curious to see how the energy carries in a few mid-section areas. The percussion and winds feature heavily in this piece, mostly as solo lines in counterpoint. So I wonder, will the fabric of that counterpoint carry through? I’m excited to have some of those questions answered. And of course to learn and be inspired by what the other composers are working on. I’m hoping to learn as much, if not more from their experiences writing for orchestra.

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