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Olympic Dances by John Harbison, a Lecture Recital together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of D. Holsinger, P. Granger, K. Husa, B. Rands, R. Vaughan Williams, and Others

Description: John Harbison's Olympic Dances was composed in 1996 and premiered in February 1997. The work was written as a piano score before it was orchestrated for a wind ensemble of 25 winds and two percussionists.The first section of the paper focuses on the various influences that have affected Harbison's compositional style. The composer's educational background includes several prominent teachers whose instruction had great impressions. Special emphasis is placed on those characteristics of Harbison's style that are most prominent in the work with which this paper is concerned, Olympic Dances. Olympic Dances was commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association and premiered at the CBDNA Twenty-ninth National Conference in Athens, Georgia, in a collaborative performance of the University of North Texas Wind Symphony and Pilobolus Dance Theatre. The second part of the paper presents an historical overview of CBDNA commissioning projects along with a summary of the genesis of the commissioning of Olympic Dances. The primary focus of the study appears in the third section of the paper. An analysis of the four movements of Olympic Dances is presented with attention to the objective elements of harmonic and melodic structures along with a focus on orchestration and scoring. This section considers the composer's thoughts on aesthetic concerns, suggested through his written program notes, and elucidated by way of an interview with the author. Special performance concerns related to rehearsal and conducting conclude this chapter. The paper also includes a transcription of the author's interview with John Harbison, a bibliography and a select discography of recent recordings of his works that are currently available.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Kohlenberg, Kenneth Howard
Partner: UNT Libraries