beauty…beholder was commissioned by the 2012-2013 Xavier Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Matthew Westgate. From the program notes:
The idea for this piece originates from an incident that occurred in January of 2012 during a New York Philharmonic concert in which a mobile phone accidentally started ringing during a performance of Mahler’s 9th Symphony. A New York Times blog post following the concert described the incident and the subsequent reaction of the conductor and the audience, an alarmingly aggressive and judgmental stance that crucified the offender for his rudeness and disruptiveness.
While having a mobile go off at an inopportune time during a piece of music is an unfortunate circumstance and can potentially destroy a powerful musical moment, it’s my belief that to hold an attitude that this interruption coming from an unintentional and non-malicious intent warrants such a severe outrage will only perpetuate further separation between a style of music and its audience in a way counter to everything that I try to promote as a musician, composer, and artist.
beauty…beholder is written in this spirit. It is my attempt to take various elements normally seen as clashing and instead embrace and include them into an atypical definition of a beautiful musical whole, promoting the philosophy that sometimes in order for the audience to accept and be open to an art genre and its subsequent works, that art genre and its works also need to accept and be open to its audience.
beauty…beholder was world premiered by the Xavier Symphonic Wind Ensemble in February of 2013. I wrote a couple of blog entries about the piece’s world premiere.