New Music for a New Age ...
When I was growing up, I loved playing music in all styles - I wanted to play old time fiddle tunes alongside my Mozart concerti. I wanted to play bebop jazz solos next to my Bach partitas. Tangos along with my Tchaikovsky. Each style of music, to me, was equal - one was never more important, or better, than the other.
Most string players spend most of their formative years in orchestras. As much as I loved playing all these other styles of music, I never got the chance to play them in orchestra - where I did most of my playing. I had to learn tunes by ear in the practice room, tediously replaying CD recordings (remember those?) and picking out licks from Mark O'Connor and Darol Anger. At night, I would sneak out to jazz clubs to try out the latest Wayne Shorter melody I'd learned (and to make some extra cash). Orchestra, however, was reserved for "the classics" - we wouldn't dare sully our concert hall with fiddle music or jazz. Except Gershwin. He's acceptable. Or the inevitable pops concert, where the hardcore violinists would roll their eyes while we played terrible arrangements of hoedowns or pop tunes and imagine themselves playing Bach. Again.
Then something happened. All of a sudden, fiddling and jazz violin and Irish music became ... ok. Now you can go to a bona fide university and get a degree in bluegrass fiddling. Orchestras and schools are finally - finally - programming other styles of music. Yet, there aren't many pieces written by players who understand both classical ensembles and these various styles. So I wrote some.
... The Leaves are Changing