Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble (2022)
Back in 2016, when I was still a total newcomer to the new music community at large, I first saw a performance of Alan Theisen's music - Circuit Break for solo piano. I was immediately grabbed by the visceral, highly energetic, rhythmically driven piece. At the time, I was far too intimidated to approach him and share my "fan girl" glee at hearing this piece. Over the next few years, I kept tabs on Alan's work via social media, as I forged my own way in the music world. When we finally had the opportunity to meet and talk in person, it was in an elevator in Midtown Manhattan, just before a rehearsal of a song of his that I was to perform the following day with Megan Ihnen. We hugged as if we had known each other our entire lives. And since then, our friendship and collaborative relationship has continued to feel that way. We share an openness and enthusiasm for our work and life in general, which has made every collaboration we've had since then fit like a custom glove.
So when the brash idea came to me to commission my first piano concerto, I had absolutely no question about who I wanted to approach with this project: of course it was Alan.
The concept we dreamt up together amounts to a seventeen-minute thrill ride. We envision the musicians having just spent nearly twenty minutes engaged in a musical discourse not only with their fellow players, their conductor, and the soloist - but also with their audience. They have just been challenged to perform an energetic, driving, rhythmic concerto whose musical influences span the likes of Leonard Bernstein, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kendrick Lamar, and Elliott Carter. We envision the audience floating away afterwards with a deep sense that they have just experienced - and contributed to - something not only unique, but deeply satisfying, and which has left them with a feeling that is too often neglected in contemporary music: joy.
What we envision is AMP: a Theatrical Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble.
Beyond the playing requirements, the players have risen to the occasion to become part of a musical three-ring circus - co-leading the audience at specific points of participation, along with the soloist and conductor. The result is a deeply musically satisfying experience that also fosters a sense of community and joy among the players and the audience alike.
The primary aim for AMP is to address that deeply important sense of community and joy through thoroughly engaging and satisfying music for all parties involved in the making.
The world premiere of AMP will take place at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts on April 16th, 2023, directed by Dr. Nicholas Carlson with the University of Illinois Chicago Wind Ensemble.
We are delighted to invite Wind Ensemble directors to join in our creative process by joining the AMP commissioning consortium.
For full consortium details, please visit Dr. Alan Theisen's website.