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 News Jazz 18/12/2017

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra To Present World Premiere Of Kathryn Bostic's The August Wilson Symphony On January 20, 2018

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra To Present World Premiere Of Kathryn Bostic's The August Wilson Symphony On January 20, 2018

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) On January 20, 2018, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Grammy Award-winning conductor Lucas Richman, will premiere Kathryn Bostic's The August Wilson Symphony at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. Tony Award winning actress Phylicia Rashad, who both performed and directed several of Wilson's plays, will serve as narrator for the event, reading passages from August Wilson's plays before each movement. Tickets are $25-$65 and are available online at or by calling (412) 392-4900.

The August Wilson Symphony consists of 5 movements: The Great Migration, The Hill Illumined, Wiley Avenue, The Oracle of Aunt Ester, and Exalted Roads of Truth and Triumph. The movements are inspired by the 10 plays Wilson wrote based on his life experiences growing up in Pittsburgh's Hill District. "I wanted to create a musical lens to reflect aspects of Mr. Wilson's plays," Bostic explained. "Each of the 5 movements has a particular essence and energy that correlates."

"I was immediately intrigued when Kathryn Bostic first informed me she was in the process of crafting a large-scale orchestral work to honor the legacy of renowned playwright, August Wilson," said Richman. "Based on my awareness of her work as a composer and knowing of her long-term association with the Wilson canon of plays, I knew no one would be better suited to this particular creative task than Kathryn and, thus, it became a personal mission for me to assist her in facilitating the proper launch of this remarkable new work."

Bostic, who scored several of Wilson's theatrical productions including Gem of the Ocean (Broadway) and Joe Turner's Come and Gone, which was directed by Rashad. She also scored the PBS American Masters documentary, produced by WQED, August Wilson-The Ground on Which I Stand. It was this documentary that inspired Kathryn to create The August Wilson Symphony.

"The overall influence Mr. Wilson has had on me is immense," said Bostic. "His awareness of his unique gift in storytelling African American lifestyle and history has helped me to appreciate the power of individual expression and its importance for me as an artist."

In addition to the performance of The August Wilson Symphony, Bostic will join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to perform her song "State of Grace" as a special memorial for Wilson.

Special thanks to The August Wilson Estate, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lucas Richman, Sundance Institute Film Music Program/Time Warner Fellowship.

The first movement, "The Great Migration," is based on opening text from Joe Turner's Come and Gone, which speaks of the great journeying African Americans took from rural south to cities in the north.

The second movement, "The Hill Illumined," reflects the mystical element in Mr. Wilson's work that is found throughout his plays.

The third movement, "Wiley Avenue," is the setting for the home of the character Aunt Ester, as well as being a historic and cultural nucleus for the African American community; for many years it was the epicenter for a vibrant nightlife featuring world-renowned artists and jazz musicians.

The fourth movement, "The Oracle of Aunt Ester," honors the matriarch central in all of August Wilson's plays, "Aunt Ester." Even without specific reference to her, her archetypal presence is apparent. Aunt Ester is the spiritual and grounding tour de force in Mr. Wilson's plays.

The fifth movement, "Exalted Roads of Truth and Triumph," is a convergence of all the paths and characters that have been created by Mr. Wilson's epic gift of Griot, writer and activist.

Composer and artist Kathryn Bostic is known for her work on award-winning films, TV and live theater. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the prestigious Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellowship, Sundance Fellowship for Feature Film Scoring, Sundance/Skywalker Documentary Film Scoring, BMI Conducting Fellowship, and Best Music in Film by the African American Film Critics Association. In 2016 she became the first female African American score composer in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Bostic has written for Broadway, most notably collaborating with the award- winning playwright August Wilson on GEM OF THE OCEAN and various productions of his last play RADIO GOLF as well as the Mark Taper production of JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE directed by Phylicia Rashad.

Because of her collaboration with Mr. Wilson, Bostic was asked to score the PBS American Masters program August Wilson - The Ground on Which I Stand. Reflecting on Mr. Wilson's career, this documentary inspired her to write "The August Wilson Symphony".

In addition to her work with August Wilson, Bostic's work on Broadway includes BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO with Robin Williams, by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. Her score of music and ambient textures in BENGAL TIGER garnered a Drama Desk win in the Sound Design category for this collaboration. She has been nominated for several additional awards including the Ovation Award, NAACP Theater Award, and a Drama Desk nominee for "Outstanding Music in a Play."

As a solo artist, Bostic toured extensively in festivals and venues including The Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott's, Birdland, Tokyo and Osaka Blue Note, and The Pori Jazz Festival. Also a vocalist, Bostic recorded and performed with many renowned artists including Nas, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and David Byrne.
Special thanks: The August Wilson Estate, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lucas Richman, Sundance Institute Film Music Program/Time Warner Fellowship.

The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its "Pittsburgh Live!" series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Awards in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series "Previn and the Pittsburgh." The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

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