For the first time in history, the Yale Symphony Orchestra will be divided into three parts all on the same stage this month.
The YSO will debut a piece composed by Daniel Schlosberg ’10 at its Oct. 16 concert. The piece, which consists of five movements and lasts about 25 minutes, weaves together different genres of music; for example, baroque, classical and 20th century jazz are all featured.
This is the first time under Toshiyuki Shimada’s five years as director of the YSO that the group has commissioned a work from a Yale student to be premiered by the group, Shimada said.
The work — titled “Five Stuck,” a play on the early 20th century German term “Fünf Stücke,” which means “five pieces” — was Schlosberg’s senior project last year for the intensive music major. He said he approached Shimada in the spring of his junior year and asked if the group would be interested in performing the finished piece.
Schlosberg wrote the piece for three smaller orchestras playing together, so there are many opportunities for different instruments to play solos.
YSO President Kenneth Kato ’11 said the piece’s unique three-part composition is a surprising change from the usual configuration of the orchestra.
“It’s pretty interesting to see other people playing the same instrument as you on the other side of the stage,” Kato said in an e-mail. “You think of these people as your neighbors and teammates, but in this piece they’re not only far away but could be doing something very different.”
Shimada said Schlosberg has not been involved in the rehearsal of the piece so far, but he will come to New Haven the week before the concert to help with last-minute tweaks.
Schlosberg began to work on “Five Stuck,” which he describes as “a concerto for orchestra,” the summer before his senior year when he was on a fellowship in Berlin. He continued to compose the piece over the fall so it would be ready for its original premiere date at the YSO’s concert last February. But the concert — which also featured Scriabin’s “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire” — was going to be too long to include Schlosberg’s piece in full. Instead, the YSO played the first movement, saving the whole piece for this semester..
“It was starting to look like a three-hour concert, and we had to shorten it,” YSO Managing Director Brian Robinson explained.
But Schlosberg said hearing even the first movement of his piece played on such a large scale was an incredible experience.
“You can try to visualize how it will sound, but you don’t know until you hear it,” he said. “I was really happy. It did take the shape I wanted it to be even though there was some tweaking.”
After Schlosberg visits his alma mater, he said he will travel to France to study with famous composer Narcis Bonet.
He added that the opportunity to write a piece for such a large group outside of Yale will not likely present itself in the near future.
“It’s a Mount Everest in some respects,” he said. “There are fewer and fewer orchestra commissions today. It’s really an amazing honor.”
In addition to “Five Stuck,” the YSO’s Oct. 16 concert will feature pieces by Director of Yale Bands Thomas Duffy, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Johannes Brahms.