On March 7, 2020, the Erie Philharmonic will present the world-premiere of Vivian Fung’s new concert for trumpet, featuring Mary Elizabeth Bowden as soloist, in the historic Warner Theatre in downtown Erie. As an orchestra that has been in existence for more than 100 years, we strive each year to find new and powerful ways to adapt to the changing musical culture of our audience. Between innovative programming, annual co-commissions, world-class soloists, movie concerts and nationally recognized outreach programming, we are truly making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people each year. Since 2016, the orchestra has sold out 13 concerts in a theatre that seats more than 2,100 audience members.
As part of this world premiere in March 2020, we will be working with the Women’s Club of Erie for a weeklong residency including both of our guest artists. With 2020 being the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, we are honored to present this new work featuring both a female soloist and composer, and are working to ensure that this innovative collaboration is shared with as many people as possible. Ms. Fung and Ms. Bowden will offer numerous classes throughout the Erie region to audiences of all ages, all at no cost. We are already in talks with various institutions regarding scheduling for March 2020, including Edinboro University, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, the Jefferson Educational Society, Erie’s Public Schools and the Millcreek School District. Examples of planned outreach events include presentations to college and high school music classes, young composer workshops and performances, lectures and more. Additionally, we will plan an open rehearsal at the Warner Theatre for the community on Friday, March 6 at 7:30pm, offering an amazing chance to see Ms. Fung work with the orchestra as they prepare her piece with Ms. Bodwen.
With our recent successes involving artist residencies, we are confident in our ability to create an impactful week of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. As an example, in 2016, the legendary pianist Emanuel Ax chose to spend four days in Erie all at no cost to the orchestra because he believed in the power of what we were doing here in Erie.
To further ensure the success of this project, the Erie Philharmonic is leading a consortium of orchestras from across the country to help defray the total cost of the commission. Orchestras as of July 1, 2019, include Anchorage Symphony, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Shenandoah Conservatory and San Diego State University.
Work on the new piece will begin in July 2019 with a goal of completion by January 2020. The Erie Philharmonic will present the world premiere on March 7, 2020, and all commissioning orchestras will being performances in September 2020.
-By Steve Weiser
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