Last fall, we debuted the first-ever session of our course Orchestration for Strings that included personalized support for students from a Mainstage Mentor — a handpicked expert in his or her field who offered feedback on the student’s work. The course itself was a big success, garnering a 100% completion rate and a ton of validating feedback from our students, yet we had a hunch that one of the most important phases in learning happens when your piece gets put in front of actual string players.
So we did just that. We got a string quartet together and asked them to play every one of the final projects we received from the students in that session, and then we filmed and recorded all of it. And it turned out, well, incredible!
At a base level, the following pieces are complex, beautiful, edgy pieces of work. When you start to dive deeper, the inherent notational or arrangement issues that start to pop up offer some truly unique insights into the things about composing that you just can’t teach in a classroom, the stuff that takes composers years to master — like, for example, how a leap in that octave is really too awkward for a cellist’s hand position or how the rhythm you notated isn’t clear enough for a player to quickly figure out in a single sitting.
Below, you can hear the results of this fruitful session, as well as feedback from the players about some of the parts. The players only had about three takes in which to get each piece down — which certainly reiterates the importance of well-written notation!
Take a listen, and then sign up for one of the next sessions of Orchestration for Strings on either July 19 or September 1 if you’d like to benefit from the same level of care our Mentors bring to your learning. Sign up now and take 15% off with code MSTAGE17.
Or reach out to us if you want to learn more about our personalized Mainstage courses.
This student asked us not to use his name but don’t let that prevent you from enjoying this lovely and slightly creepy atmospheric piece. Listen to the part starting at 1:07 and the beautiful chordal textures he’s managed to create!
Thanks to all the composers for your incredible work and best of luck in your composing futures!
All works performed by:
Ali Jones (cello)
Elise Frawley (viola)
Josh Henderson (violin)
Jeanann Dara (violin)
Conducted by Ian McLellan Davis
Recorded and engineered by Martin Fowler and Nick Lerman
Executive Produced by Ian Temple.
Start your journey arranging music for a string ensemble at last! Join Orchestration for Strings now, and get personalized Mentor feedback and support in our next Mainstage session starting July 19! Take 15% off with code: MSTAGE17.