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Four great new compositions commissioned by the Dayton Philharmonic in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first successful flight.
Neal Gittleman writes: “The Dayton Philharmonic’s Wright Brothers Centennial Commissioning project dates back to 1997. At that point, more than five years before the actual 100th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville’s first successful powered flight, it was already clear that something big was called for. 2003 would also be the Ohio state bicentennial, the orchestra’s seventieth anniversary and the DPO’s first season in the new Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Given our commitment to the music of today, a major commissioning effort seemed the way to go, bringing to life four new medium-length pieces addressing the broad theme of the Wright Brothers. How do you do that? Easy. You find fearless composers like Bill Bolcom, Robert Rodriguez, Mike Schelle and Steve Winteregg and turn them loose. They attacked the challenge with the same vigor as Orville and Wilbur tackled the challenges of powered flight. Technical problems had to be solved. For the Wrights there were issues of wing and propeller design, inventing a control mechanism, finding a light but powerful motor and conquering the multidimensional challenges of lift, yaw and roll. For the composers, there were questions of genre, language, piece-d’occasion – or piece-for-the-ages and “How many percussionists can I have?” In the end, what made both endeavors successful was imagination and inventiveness – the imagination to envision the end result and the inventiveness to make it happen. More than anything else, this CD and the four works it contains reflect the spirit of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the greatest sons of Ohio’s great city of inventors”. Allison Janney, of The West Wing fame, was raised in Oakwood, a small suburb of Dayton. She attended Kenyon College in Ohio and landed a role in a play directed by alumnus Paul Newman. Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, encouraged Janney with her acting and suggested that she consider studying at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse. She has won three Emmy awards for her work in television.