ABILENE – The Abilene Youth Orchestra, an outreach program of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, presents its first concert of the season on Monday, November 15, at 7 p.m. at the Wylie Performing Arts Center. One of the works being performed by the AYO is the premier performance of a piece composed by AISD Assistant Orchestra Director and Revolution Strings Technical Director, Fred Grigg. Titled Hakkapeliitta, Grigg created it with high school performers in mind as far as technique and playability (he noted that it is a tough piece, more likely for advanced groups).
Like many works of music or art, the inspiration for this piece started with one idea that blossomed into another. Grigg explains that, “At the time, I was researching birdsong to base a piece of string music on. I found the song of the chaffinch to be pretty melodic. As I was composing, the sound of the piece kept pushing in the direction of something much bigger and I decided to head in that direction. I based the sound not on the bird, but on a Finnish military cavalryman that served King Adolphus of Sweden (the two themes tie together as the chaffinch is from Europe).”
Grigg describes the piece as “heavy in military-style brass and percussion.” He explains that “It is based on the tactics used by the Hakkapeliitta during the Thirty Years’ War. They were masters of skirmishing, raiding and reconnaissance. All three of these military tactics as well as the sound of the horses can be heard in the music.”
While Grigg has had numerous arrangements performed by various groups including full orchestras, choirs, bands, and string orchestras, this is the second time that an original composition of his has been performed. “The first was a piece I wrote for a concert band in the Philippines that premiered during a national festival in Manila.”
In addition to the Abilene Youth Orchestra Concert, audiences will also be introduced to a new ensemble, Mission: Strings, who will be performing a brief showcase to open the concert. Mission: Strings is a string preparatory program for kids 3rd-5th grade who would like to learn an orchestral string instrument.
Tickets are available online at https://abilenephilharmonic.org/book-online/5001/ or by going to the Philharmonic Orchestra website.