"Odzihozo And The Lake" performed by the Vermont Symphony

"Odzihozo And The Lake" premieres! As I announced in my last newsletter - I have been chosen to be the the featured composer for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra's 2009 "Made In Vermont" Fall Festival Tour. I received a commission to write a 12 minute piece for the VSO chamber orchestra. This year Vermont is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de Champlain. The VSO wanted a piece about the lake and I thought it would be nice to write something that paid respect to the Abenaki, who, after all, were here long before that French explorer decided to name a beautiful lake after himself. The piece I wrote is called "Odzihozo And The Lake." Who is Odzihozo you might ask? Well, he is a supernatural being of Abenaki legend who created himself from the leftover dust that fell from the Creator's hands. He was pretty clever at making himself but somehow he forgot to make himself legs. So he dragged himself over the land pushing up mountains and gouging out rivers and eventually made Lake Champlain, which he considered to be his masterpiece. In fact, he liked it so much that he decided that he would stay there and watch over it forever, so he turned himself into a rock island that sits in the Burlington Bay. The piece tells this story in music. The piece was performed in 10 locations around the state of Vermont in the fall of 2009 and was conducted by Anthony Princiotti. It's been a lot of fun writing it and I've learned a lot in the process. It is written for a chamber orchestra of 28 people, which includes 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 french horns, violins, violas, cellos, bass and a percussionist who plays vibraphone, timpani, bass drum and cymbal. I have worked two Abenaki musical themes (a greeting song and fragments of friendship song) into the piece to honor the Abenaki people and their connection to the lake and to Ndakinna, which is their name for Vermont.