Omaha Symphony program offers composers valuable experience

Posted on: June 10, 2010

“The young composer briefly loses himself in the music,” writes John Pitcher in Tuesday’s (6/8) Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska). “Clint Needham is at the Holland Performing Arts Center, listening to the Omaha Symphony rehearse his latest piece. He’s intensely in the moment, tapping his feet, waving his arms like a conductor. Then an errant sound brings him back to earth. ‘I’d like the violins to be more aggressive,’ says the 28-year-old composer. ‘Keep applying pressure.’ Needham is one of six developing composers from around the country who have arrived in Omaha for the symphony’s second annual New Music Symposium. The program gives the composers––mostly doctoral students in their 20s––a chance to work with a professional orchestra. They also gain valuable insight and feedback from the symposium’s guest faculty member, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner, and from Omaha Symphony conductors Thomas Wilkins and Ernest Richardson. … Composers, like great cooks, must know how to mix their instrumental ingredients to produce appealing works. For example, a bassoon solo would be nearly impossible to hear if all of the other winds were playing loudly at the same time.”

Posted June 10, 2010