Inaugural Organ Festival Features Work by Swarthmore College Composer
In a festival dedicated to the unveiling and first performances of its new organ, the Philadelphia Orchestra will perform the world premiere of a work by composer and Jane Lang Professor of Music Gerald Levinson titled <i>Toward Light</i> for organ and orchestra. The work was commissioned for the occasion and will be the first music publicly heard on the organ. The festival will take place May 11 to 26, 2006, at the Kimmel Center on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts.
This is not Levinson's first collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2003, the Orchestra opened a series of concerts marking the beginning of the tenure of its then-new music director, Christoph Eschenbach, with Levinson's "Avatar." The piece includes a motif that spells out "C. Eschenbach" with musical notes.
Levinson has taught at Swarthmore since 1977. He spent 1979-80 in Bali as a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, studying Balinese music and composing, and returned there in 1982-83 as a Guggenheim Fellow. His vocal, chamber, and orchestral works have been widely performed in the U.S., France, and England, and in 1990 he received the Music Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.