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Indiana State’s 45th Annual Contemporary Music Festival

Eric Ewazen's Chamber Symphony brings Mozart's orchestra into the twentieth century by adding harp and percussion.

photo of the featured composer

Photo: Indiana State University

Composer Eric Ewazen

Event Information

45th Annual Contemporary Music Festival

a variety of concerts culminating in a Friday evening finale featuring works by Eric Ewazen played by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra


Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana

October 26-28, 2011

Eric Ewazen is the featured composer for this year’s festival. Friday night’s concert with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will feature his Chamber Symphony.

His Roots

Ewazen is especially pleased with this choice. “My roots are in music by the likes of George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. But in my student days I really explored the world of twentieth century music. There’s a lot to explore: minimalism, serialism, atonality, etc., etc. The Chamber Symphony is from 1984, when I was really finding my own voice. It’s definitely melodic, tonal, and harmonic.”

His Own Voice

“As a composer I do seek to explore and develop my own voice, but the bottom line is that I write to flatter the instruments.” The commission for Ewazen’s Chamber Symphony was for a concert that featured Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. “This meant that I had the basic strings and pairs of winds.”

18th Century Sounds, 20th Century Colors

The commission also allowed him to pick two other instruments. Ewazen picked a harp and percussion. “The composer George Crumb said that percussion is the basso continuo of twentieth century music, and he is so right. The colors that they add and the additional emphasis on rhythm are one of the keys to the success of this piece.”

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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