Building bridges through music: a recording and performance collaboration with adult composers, young soloists, and collegiate band accompaniment
Although music is regarded as a universal language, it is rare to find musicians of different ages, ability levels, and backgrounds interacting with each other in collaborative performances. There is a dearth of mixed-ability-level wind band and string orchestra repertoire, and the few pieces that exist fail to celebrate the talents of the youngest and least-experienced performers. Composers writing music for school-age ensembles have also been excluded from the collaborative process, rarely communicating with the young musicians for whom they are writing.
This project introduced twenty-nine compositions into the wind band and string orchestra repertoire via a collaboration that engaged multiple constituencies. Students of wind and string instruments from Phoenix’s El Sistema-inspired Harmony Project and the Tijuana-based Niños de La Guadalupana Villa Del Campo worked together with students at Arizona State University and composers from Canada, Finland, and across the United States to learn and record concertos for novice-level soloists with intermediate-level accompaniment ensembles.
This project was influenced by the intergenerational ensembles common in Finnish music institutes. The author provides a document which includes a survey of the existing concerto repertoire for wind bands and previous intergenerational and multicultural studies in the field of music. The author then presents each of the mixed-ability concertos created and recorded in this project and offers biographical information on the composers. Finally, the author reflects upon qualitative surveys completed by the project’s participants.
Most the new concertos are available to the public. This music can be useful in the development and implementation of similar collaborations of musicians of all ages and abilities.