Concerto for Piano and Trumpet -”The Russian” (2007)
for solo piano, solo trumpet and string orchestra (or piano reduction)
Commissioned by Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida. Premiered by Lisa Leonard, piano, Marc Reese, trumpet and The Lynn University String Ensemble, Albert George Schram, conductor, 2007.
In the summer of 2006, I was delighted to receive a call from my dear friend Lisa Leonard. Lisa was starting a new music festival at Lynn University and wanted me to be the inaugural composer-in-residence. With that position would come the premiere of a new work. After some discussion, we decided that the new piece would feature her on piano with her husband, Marc Reese, (also a very dear friend) on trumpet. Using strings as a concerto accompaniment, the concerto would then take on the same instrumentation as Shostakovich’s famous 1st piano concerto.
I’ll never forget writing this work: We were on summer vacation from Florida, and visiting my in-laws in the Chicago area (not knowing that we soon be moving nearby) – and I set to work in the dark and somewhat dingy basement of their Victorian home. In roughly a month, I had completed the five-movement concerto, in somewhat traditional style (fast-slow-fast) but with an interlude separating the middle movement from each its neighbors. The work is highly melodic, and meant to feature the warm sound and passionate playing of both of its dedicatees.
As I have noted many times, it is always a pleasure to compose for wonderful people, and it is even more memorable when they are very good friends. I am forever grateful to them for their trust in me as a composer and for their passion or new music – which continues to this day.