APO announces lockdown commissions

With the latest lockdown due to end next week, we’re excited to announce that we’ve commissioned two fabulous musicians to provide us with pieces that will light the path back to – hope upon hope – something approaching normality.

Derri Lewis poring over the score of his revised ‘River Image’ with APO Music Director, Andrew Taylor

APO players and audiences are already familiar with the talent of Derri Lewis, from his compositions ‘River Image’ (both in the original version, premiered in APO’s award-winning ‘Route to the River’ event at Reading station, in 2017, and the revised version premiered last October in our Shadow of Stalin concert) and ‘Projection’ for wind octet and guitar, premiered with guitarist Arturo Castro Nogueras during a special performance in Reading’s twin town of Düsseldorf.

We’ve commissioned him to write a brand new work for orchestra, but even better, to write a version of the piece for flexibly-scored sextet, as well as 3 works for any solo instrument, based on material from the main piece. As well as this original composition, APO has commissioned a flexibly-scored sextet arrangement of Emilie Mayer’s Faust Overture, which members of the orchestra explored as part of this autumn’s programme of online workshops. The arrangement is being made by professional arranger and orchestrator Samara Ginsberg, whose amazing multi-track cello arrangements have gone viral during 2020.

Samara Ginsberg’s arrangements have been a viral sensation during 2020. Now she’s been engaged to bring those skills to bear on an arrangement of Emilie Mayer’s Faust Overture for flexibly-scored sextet.

While we all wait impatiently for the vaccines to be rolled out, individual players can challenge themselves to learn and perhaps record, if they want to, Derri’s solo pieces. It will be fascinating to see how different players interpret them and hear how they work with the different colours of the various instruments. Then, complying with the rule of six (and subject to any other restrictions), groups of players will be able to come together to play the sextet arrangements without having to worry about finding a specific combination of instruments. We can then scale this up into whatever size of ensemble is permitted by the remaining restrictions, as we return to in person playing gradually, before playing the full versions of both pieces when the orchestra is allowed to come together in its conventional form.