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Providence professor’s fanfare to be debuted by Regina Symphony Orchestra
Across the Grasslands,” says Dr. Karen Sunabacka, “is a fanfare that celebrates the prairies.”
Commissioned by the Regina Symphony Orchestra to mark Music Director Gordon Gerrard’s inaugural season in the Saskatchewan capital, it will be debuted on Saturday, September 17 at the Conexus Arts Centre.
The composition will formally open the RSO’s 2016-17 season, and the evening’s concert will also feature internationally-renowned violinist James Ehnes performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
Both Sunabacka and Gerrard grew up in Manitoba, and, says the Providence Professor of Music Theory and Composition, “the vast, terrifying and yet beautiful grasslands” helped them develop as musicians.
The two also performed together as university students.
Beginning with drums and brass, Across the Grasslands opens with a perfect fifth <G-D> and proceeds through multiple, varied build-ups before concluding with a loud, celebratory climax.
“The piece depicts the extreme seasons, the large open spaces, the winds through the grasslands, the sudden shifts of weather on the prairies,” explains Sunabacka in the program notes. She also points out that natural surroundings, as well as her Metis heritage, have provided considerable inspiration in her time as an orchestral composer.
“Although the prairie region is often overlooked I find its vast sky, extreme seasons and cultural diversity to be endlessly inspiring,” she says. “I’m excited for this opportunity to write for the Regina Symphony Orchestra and to publically celebrate the grasslands, the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and the city of Regina.”


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