An original composition exploring the sounds and emotions of three Iowa landscapes premier Sunday, Feb. 27, at 3 p.m., by the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra (OVCO) with trombone soloist Benjamin Yates.
The all-volunteer orchestra will perform in the Decorah High school Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Minnesota-based composer Katherine Bergman explores sounds, landscapes and emotions of the tall grass prairie, the Loess Hills region and the Driftless Region in her “Prairiescapes” composition. Trombone soloist Yates is associate professor of low brass at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a 2008 graduate of Luther College.
Bergman explained her choice of Iowa landscapes for the composition. “As I was writing the piece, a lot of the time I was thinking of the orchestra as the landscape itself, and then the trombone as the human experience of being in the landscape, maybe even standing above the landscape.”
Yates noted the solo trombone fits nicely with prairie sounds like tall grasses blowing in the winter wind or the low and high ranges of the Loess Hills geography. “I think of the trombone as an organic, human element reflecting the soundscapes of the prairie regions.”
Part of the project goal is to help all audiences access new music like “Prairiescapes.” Yates will visit several Iowa schools and talk with music students about the composition and performance. He hopes the audiences will gain an appreciation of some parts of Iowa that they might like to visit some time.
Director Matthew Cody said, “I also hope the audience will engage with this new music and that the piece will be played in many other venues. We need new composers and new voices. I’m very pleased and happy that OVCO is adding ‘Prairiescapes’ to its repertoire.”
OVCO includes amateur and professional players from Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota and Eastern Wisconsin. Cody founded OVCO in 2014.
For more information, visit www.ovcorchestra.org/season-8-202122/prairiescapes.
The commission is sponsored in part through a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a SPARK grant from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of the Arts, donations from several individuals, and donations from Iowa and Louisiana organizations including OVCO.