ClevelandClassical has published the second installment in a three-part series previewing the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra's upcoming world premiere of Roger Briggs's Fountain of Youth, led by music director Brett Mitchell:
Whether you’re a member of a “Big Five” orchestra or not, the prospect of performing a newly-composed work is always exciting. On Friday, November 18 at 8:00 pm at Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) under the direction of Brett Mitchell will have that opportunity when they present the world premiere of Roger Briggs’ Fountain of Youth, commissioned by COYO. The program will also include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 (“Romantic”).
For composer Roger Briggs, the COYO commission was immediately attractive to him for two reasons: first, it provided him with the opportunity to write a new work that would be conducted by a former student. “Brett Mitchell studied composition and conducting with me at Western Washington University. He was a marvelous talent,” Briggs said during a telephone conversation.“I remember playing Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are on the piano in class one day, and afterwards he politely came up and told me that I had left out a note of a chord, and he sat down and played the chord adding the note.” Briggs recalled. “I told him I didn’t think he was correct, so I immediately went to the score, and he was right!”
Second, it would be his first commission for a large-scale symphonic work from a youth orchestra. “The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra has the reputation of being one of the finest youth orchestras in the world, so I wrote the piece as though I was writing for a professional orchestra — I knew I didn’t need to write down to them,” the composer said.
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