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Concert of new music raises awareness for Gulf Coast

Loyola press release - October 11, 2010

The long-term implications brought by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be the focus of an upcoming concert with John Reeks, instructor of clarinet at Loyola University New Orleans. The event will strive to raise awareness about ecological impacts caused by the crisis.

Reeks and other guest artists will perform new music for clarinet and strings Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Roussel Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

This concert includes the New Orleans premiere of John Williams' "Air and Simple Gifts," a piece made famous through its performance at President Obama’s inauguration. “It's a fantasy on the Quaker hymn, ‘Simple Gifts’,” said Reeks. “The piece ties together the spirit of this program, which is the indomitable American spirit that will always prevail.”

The program also features the world premieres of two works written especially for this occasion, “The Pelican - Meditation on the 2010 Oil Spill,” by William Vollinger, and an orchestration of Bach's “Ciaccona” by Harold Seletsky.

According to Reeks, “The Pelican,” which recasts the spill through the eyes of a pelican, is the first classical work written about the Gulf disaster. Narrating this work is New Orleans actor Ricky Graham.

“There is nothing more powerful than music when giving an emotional response to a catastrophe,” said Reeks. “I asked two composer friends to help me with this concert…Seletsky took one of the most powerful works ever written, the Bach ‘Ciaccona’ for solo violin, and expanded the orchestration into a piece for clarinet and strings. Composer Vollinger went one step further and used a narrative work called ‘The Pelican,’ using the Bach ‘Ciaccona’ as a basis for his musical view of the oil spill, as seen through the eyes of a pelican.”

Musicians performing in the event include John Reeks, clarinet; Ricky Graham, as The Pelican; Kate Withrow, violin; Gabriel Platica, violin; Bruce Owen, viola; David Rosen, cello; and Jesse Reeks, piano.

For more information, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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