Through the generosity of Stanford Alum, David Kaun, ESF has commissioned award-winning Jose Gonzalez Granero to compose a triple concerto that will be premiered with Stanford Philharmonia, conducted by Anna Wittstruck at Bing Hall on Saturday November 12, 2016 at 7:30pm.
Above: Jose Gonzalez Granero introduces his String Quartet No. 1 at its premiere performance in May 2014. David Kaun was in attendance and it was that evening that the idea of the commission was first born. Read on to learn more about this project from interviews with David Kaun (DK) and Jose Gonzalez Granero (JGG).
You have been a huge part of bringing many new works to life. How did you get into this arena? Why is this something that excites you?
DK: I started taking clarinet lessons at the age of 9, and from then on music and sports have been an essential part of my life. Fortunately I can still play the clarinet, but football only vicariously via TV now (and as of late, Stanford has kept me smiling). I'm not sure when I got "hooked" on this commission idea... interestingly, I think it was when I sponsored the Turtle Island Quartet for a Stanford Concert. In conversation with David Balakrishnan, the idea of commissioning a piece just came to me. I've been fortunate in being able to continue this great pleasure. And as an amateur musician, this turns out to be a way for me to be a "professional" as well, via the talents of the group now on stage.
What is your personal connection to this project and the significance of this commission?
DK: As a graduate student here, I had the good fortune of playing in the Stanford Orchestra under the direction of a truly amazing conductor and human being, Sandor Salgo. Blend this with what I'd just said above and support and this evening's piece in this local is, as they say, a no brainer.
You are a primarily a clarinetist. How did you get into composing?
JGG: I have always been interested in composing and I wrote off and on since I was a teenager. I always considered it a hobby, focusing primarily on the clarinet. After getting the San Francisco Opera job, my desire for composing grew and I decided to take it more seriously. I received a commission from Music in May to compose a string quartet and after that experience I was more driven to compose than ever before. I started taking private composition lessons.
How is being a composer different from being a clarinetist?
JGG: I feel composing is solitary. You sit in front of the piano and computer for hours just imagining how the piece would sound. There is not much interaction. Being a clarinetist, especially for an orchestra, involves working with other musicians, a conductor, singers, etc.
What is your personal connection to this project?
JGG: My personal connection to this project is being able to work with the ESF musicians whom I admire profoundly. I have composed music for them in the past and I couldn't ask for better musicianship and level for my music.
Is this project unique from any other piece you have composed?
This commission is the most challenging piece I've written so far. I am very excited about it. After all the work, it will be great hearing this new piece come alive in Bing Hall!
For more information about Jose, visit his WEBSITE.
Premiere of Jose's String Quartet No. 1, "Noche Del Amor Insomne"