Atlanta composer Mark Gresham is among 10 artists to receive an honorable mention in the “In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores” composition contest.
The Grammy Award-winning violinist founded the program to expand the violin repertoire and restore prominence to the encore genre. She commissioned 26 composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and piano, and she put out an open call as well. Gresham’s “Café Cortadito” was among 400 submissions.
Hahn will premiere winner Jeff Myers’ “The Angry Birds of Kauai” and the honorable mentions between now and the end of 2015.
“It’s a short piece of music [four minutes], but it’s a real big deal,” says Gresham (above), who is one of the founding writers of ArtsATL.com. “It’s a big deal for any composer to have someone like that perform a piece.”
Encouraged to enter by composer Jennifer Higdon, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the violin concerto she wrote for Hahn, Gresham aimed to write something that felt like an encore and would be fun to play. “For me, an encore is not just a short piece of music,” he explains. “It has to be able to follow a really in-depth performance of a concerto or a full recital program, and not just satisfy but engage both the musician and the audience in that kind of context.
“What Hilary Hahn is doing is what the great early-20th-century violinists did: she’s having new encore pieces written especially for her, not just performing the ones that the legends made famous way back when.”
(Photo by John Noel Wheeler)