Roaring Fork’s Symphony in the Valley holds concert debut for two young composers
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was around 8 years old when he wrote his first symphony, Symphony 1. Ian Pasternak is 15 and Taylor Reed just turned 16, but both boys will have original compositions premiere at a Young Composers concert put on by Symphony in the Valley. Ruth Mollman is a flautist and president of the board for Symphony in the Valley. She is also Reed’s Nana and his connection to the Roaring Fork Valley, since he and his family live in Nashville.
“My grandson, Taylor, has been writing music for at least five years, so on his 15th birthday we gave him a challenge to write for a symphony because he had never written for a symphony before. He came up with a beautiful piece and when I heard it I was excited about the potential of our symphony performing it,” Mollman said.
Kelly Thompson is the conductor and Music Director for the group and said Pasternak has sent him many arrangements within the past few years but that this concert will be a harmonious opportunity to showcase the work he’s completed as well as the piece Reed put together.
“When Ruth reached out and said ‘hey what do you think about doing a young composers concert?’ I thought well that would be the perfect time to showcase some of the stuff that Ian has been sending me too, so that’s kind of how it all played out,” Thompson said.
Pasternak plays the synthesizer, contrabass clarinet and bassoon, and said his music may be described by some as noise. He said while his approach may be unconventional, he stands by the pieces he composed and is currently seeing his personal genre evolve.
“My style has become more questionable. Some might even say it’s not music at that point but to be honest I don’t care, I follow what I want to do…“I’m a modernist. I want music to progress. I listen to noise rather than music a lot of the time. Even the music I listen to some people may call it noise,” Pasternak said.
Pasternak will have two pieces performed at the concert, Chase Music and Fugue in C Minor for band. Reed plays guitar, piano, drums, bass guitar and a little bit of saxophone. He will also have various members of his family, over the span of three generations, playing instruments in the concert for the piece he composed based on a challenge from his grandmother.
“I decided to try and write a symphony that kind of incorporated the different styles of (film scores). Each movement of the symphony kind of goes through a different movie genre. There’s six different movements within the piece, so then it kind of weaves its way through…it follows a storyline like someone who goes to a theater, gets scared in the first movie and then starts theater hopping,” Reed said.
Amanda Watkins, Orchestra Manager for Symphony in the Valley and a viola player, emphasized that this will be the world premiere for Reed and Pasternak’s pieces, although Pasternak said his compositions have previously debuted in a virtual setting. Watkins said she’s excited for the event as something different to do during COVID-19 times, and that the space they have in New Hope Church in New Castle is large enough where symphony members and the audience can socially distance.
“These are literally world premieres, they’ve never been played ever before, other than synthesized when they wrote the music. Never been played live so that’s a pretty big deal. A big part of our mission is to promote music for young people in our valley,” Watkins said.
The concerts will be at 7 p.m. on March 5 and 6 to celebrate these two young composers. Thompson said the group considers anyone under the age of 30 composing music to hold this title. Community members should come out to the performance, Mollman said, to hear the Symphony perform music unlike other pieces they’ve played in the past.
“This concert has a really fresh new sound. They’re new composers, we’ve never heard them before…this is a uniquely fresh sound from both of these young composers,” Mollman said.
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