EarShot Sarasota Orchestra – Composer Spotlight: Krists Auznieks

Currently pursuing doctorate at Yale School of Music with Aaron Jay Kernis and David Lang, Krists Auznieks’ most recent recognitions include Jacob Druckman Prize from Aspen Music Festival, Latvian National Grand Music Award for the best new work of the year, The Woods Chandler Memorial Prize from Yale, fellowships from Aspen Music Festival, NEXT Festival of Emerging Artists (NYC), Bennington Chamber Music Conference, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, winning works at The Chicago Ensemble’s Discover America XI and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra competitions. His quintet “Piano” was featured in The New York Times among the week’s best classical music moments. His opera NeoArctic, co-written with British techno producer Andy Stott, won Danish Reumert Prize and will have its US premiere at The Kennedy Center in 2019.

Krists Auznieks’ piece Crossing was selected for the EarShot Sarasota Orchestra New Music Readings, where it will be rehearsed and performed under the direction of conductor Christopher Rountree. A reading session on Saturday, March 16, 8PM is open to the public at Holley Hall. Click here for more information.

We spoke with Krists about his piece and the EarShot program.

Composer Krists Auznieks

American Composers Orchestra: What was your reaction to finding out your piece had been selected for the Sarasota Orchestra EarShot New Music Readings?

Krists Auznieks: I was thrilled: I received the news just a few days before New Year’s Eve and took it as an omen of a wonderful year ahead. The piece taps into something deeply personal and meaningful that I wanted to share with the world and I was hoping that the piece would have life beyond the first performance. The Earshot selection meant that the dream is gradually coming true.

ACO: Can you talk about what you experience when you hear an orchestra perform your music for the first time? What was it like to hear the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra perform Crossing for the first time?

KA: Oh, it is very exciting: it is a culmination of endless hours of solitary work and hearing it come together in a beautiful place being surrounded by a marvelous community feels extraordinary. It is very healing. The connections that are made during and surrounding the performance — through sound, ideas, presence, and the sheer act of listening — always amaze me. You feel like there are invisible lines connecting history, being, community with something underlying and unspoken and projecting it all into the future. It is closest to time traveling I will ever get. Aspen PO was magical: the care Patrick Summers took, the attention to detail, you just could not believe it. People breathing in sync with fluid, not-having-yet-happened time.

ACO: What are you doing to prepare for the readings? Are there any changes you have made to your piece?

KA: I made plenty of revisions concerning balance, orchestration, and micro-timing; I also changed the last two minutes quite radically. The last section should subsume the rest of the piece completely and I don’t know how it can happen. Can eight minutes of mercurial shifts and crossings be eaten up by a large solid block of late Rothko?

ACO: What are you looking forward to about the workshops and readings? What do you hope to learn from the experience?

KA: I certainly want to find out the answer to my last question. I am looking forward to furthering the changes and getting to know the piece through the ears of other people: composers, musicians, the audience. I am also excited to hear pieces by fellow composers and see how they define and solve compositional problems. Sarasota Orchestra’s extensive experience with the tradition and new music alike is an asset that will contribute to rich interpretation of our pieces in unexpected ways. And what an honor it is to be working with the new music connoisseur Christopher Rountree: his energy and musical literacy are truly inspiring.

Krists Auznieks’ piece Crossing will be performed by the Sarasota Orchestra, led by conductor Christopher Rountree, on Saturday, March 16, 8PM at Holley Hall. Click here for more information.

Learn more about Krists Auznieks at www.auznieks.com

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