EarShot Fort Wayne Philharmonic Readings: Composer Spotlight – Nathan Kelly

Composer Nathan Kelly’s music reflects his eclectic mix of musical experiences, from playing gospel piano in East Texas churches, to Broadway in pit orchestras in New York City, to bands on cruise ships around the world, to working in Hollywood with music producers and film composers. He has orchestrated for artists such as Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart, Jackie Evancho, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez; Broadway shows (Gypsy, Curtains, The Tony Awards); TV’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks on NBC, Audra McDonald on PBS and more; and was recently a Visiting Artist at The American Academy in Rome.

Nathan was selected for the EarShot Fort Wayne Philharmonic Readings for his piece Redwood, which will be workshopped and conducted by Music Director Andrew Constantine in a final read-through on Wednesday, February 7, 2018. Details here.

Nathan spoke with us about the piece and what he looks forward to at the readings.

Composer Nathan Kelly

American Composers Orchestra: In addition to composing contemporary classical works, your career includes orchestrations for many major artists, Broadway, and TV productions. Can you talk about how your composing process differs when composing in these two very different settings?
Nathan Kelly: ​Orchestrating for other people is a lot of guessing what the composer’s intentions are – if they really mean these pitches, these durations, these instruments, this key or is anything you’re given just an approximation of an effect or are you supposed to enhance it, to re-write it and to what degree should you add or subtract.  It’s a big guess and you do better, the more you work with the composer, as opposed to when writing my own things, you I don’t have to guess.  
ACO: What are you looking forward to about the workshops and readings?
NK: ​I’m looking forward to hearing it and seeing how it comes to life and what things I did really work well and what things take more work or could be better.
ACO: What aspects of Redwood do you hope to improve or fine tune?​
​I anticipate possibly rewriting one section that is aleotoric notation with a deliberately thick orchestration (done so, because it’s easier to subtract instruments than write them in on the stand).  There are a few spots with some cues written in that say “Cue: Play if asked” and if time allows, I might want to hear some passages on other instruments. 
The EarShot Fort Wayne Philharmonic Readings culminate in a final read-through which is free and open to the public — Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 7:30pm. Details here.
Learn more about Nathan at www.nathankelly.com

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