February 07, 2012

Annapolis, MD – February 6, 2012 - The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, Music Director and musicians will be anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winner of one special category at Sunday’s 54th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California. Included in the nominations for “Best Small Ensemble Performance” is Hilos, a musical production created by composer Gabriela Lena Frank and performed by Frank with the Nashville based Alias Chamber Ensemble. Frank serves as the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO’s) Composer-In-Residence and will continue in that role through its 2013 season.

“We are thrilled that our composer-in-residence has been nominated for another Grammy Award and continues to be recognized for her incredible talents! We feel privileged that Gabriela is sharing her musical talent with the ASO as she writes our anniversary piece and works with music students throughout our community.” notes Katharene Snavely, ASO Executive Director.

Frank comes to the ASO courtesy of a grant from Music Alive, the partnership program of the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. “I enjoy being involved with organizations that can be creative with me, and I try to incorporate school interaction in my works with those organizations.” says Frank. While in Annapolis, Frank has been spending time with 5th grade students at Key School and Juniors & Seniors at Annapolis High School. “The value of working in local schools and developing projects that place composition and creativity directly into the hands of young minds can’t be overstated.” says Frank.

In the schools, Frank puts a personal touch on the world of musical composition by introducing students to her story. She aims to showcase the fun side of music and works to develop students’ musical composition skills. In some cases, such as with students at Annapolis High School who are part of an advanced learning initiative that includes a required element of music writing, her involvement is more individualized. Frank offered to hear each student’s musical composition and provided her professional observations and suggestions for modification. “It’s wonderful to experience the enthusiasm of students,” remarks Frank, “and it’s nice to be a catalyst for things that are already within them.”

In addition to her community outreach efforts, Frank has been commissioned to compose two pieces for the ASO - one of which will be premiered at the organization’s 50th Anniversary Concerts on May 4th at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and on May 6 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park, MD. “This (50th Anniversary) is a special occasion. I want to create something custom to the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and that is a piece of pride for all.” remarks Frank. Over the past six months, Frank has spent time meeting the ASO musicians, hearing them perform and discovering their individual and collective talents. “Not knowing what I am going to present to them, and having limited time to practice before performing the piece, can make an orchestra nervous. The ASO musicians have welcomed me with open arms, and I have enjoyed getting to know them.”

Frank calls her piece for the ASO’s 50th Anniversary Concerts “Concerto Suite for Orchestra.” The ASO’s musicians will be introduced to the piece approximately one month prior to the Anniversary concerts. In the meantime, Frank will have the opportunity to chronicle her artistic endeavor at the ASO’s new blog www.annapolissymphonyblog.org. For Frank, composing this piece has been different than any other. “Knowing I’d have the opportunity to share my creative process through a blog, I’ve kept notes along the way.” she says. “I’m looking forward to reflecting on how mysterious the composing and artistic process is and sharing insights into this (ASO composition) piece.”

In addition to posts from Frank, the ASO’s blog will also feature posts from the Symphony’s Music Director José-Luis Novo, acclaimed pianist and ASO lecturer Rachel Franklin, ASO Executive Director Katharene Snavely, and more. 

Frank comments she is “loving the Annapolis community” and noted that one of the blessings of her job is that it serves as her “ticket to see the world.” Born in Berkeley, California to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, she currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She will be accompanied by her father at Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony, and the ASO hopes its 50th Anniversary Celebration will be accompanied by a celebration of Frank’s Grammy win.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is led by Maestro José-Luis Novo and features 70 professional musicians who perform a variety of symphonic music for audiences of all ages. Performances are held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and other locations within the Anne Arundel County community. The organization provides educational programs through its partnerships with local schools, as well as various other community outreach efforts. The ASO’s vision is to be the best regional orchestra in the country, recognized as a jewel in the Washington/Baltimore area. For more information on the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, visit www.annapolissymphony.org or call 410-269-1132.

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