While the school year kicks into overdrive with end-of-year activities, students in Susan Oakley’s band class will have a rare opportunity: they will perform the world-premiere performance of a new work by composer Tawnie Olson. The piece, Pop!, was commissioned by the American Composers Forum as part of their BandQuest® series. The series is designed to place world-class composers in the middle-school classroom at no cost to the schools.

This winter, Olson began a residency at E.C. Adams Middle School in Guilford, CT. The school’s band teacher, Susan Oakley, worked with Olson to engage her students in the composition process and introduce them to the composer and her work. This experience also gave band students at the middle school the unique opportunity to interact with Olson and learn about writing music from a living composer. They bonded over their love of popcorn, and the resulting piece has a fun, rhythmic feel and imitates popping corn with an aleatoric section that students can make their own.

Olson’s new composition, Pop!, will have its world-premiere performance during a full school assembly on Tuesday June 12th. Along with the premiere itself, Olson will talk to the school about her compositional process and share her experience.

About Composer Tawnie Olson

The music of Canadian composer Tawnie Olson draws inspiration from politics, spirituality, the natural world and the musicians for whom she composes. Olson has received commissions from the Canadian Art Song Project, New Music USA, Third Practice, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Women’s Philharmonic/Mount Holyoke College, Blue Water Chamber Orchestra and the Robert Baker Commissioning Fund of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, among others. In 2017, she received an OPERA America Discovery Grant to develop a new work with re:Naissance Opera, and a Canada Council for the Arts Professional Development Grant to study field recording at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In 2018 she is the Composer-In-Residence of the Hartford Women Composers Festival. Olson’s music is performed on five continents, and can also be heard on recordings by the Canadian Chamber Choir, soprano Magali Simard-Galdes, percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum, Parthenia Viol Consort (with bass-baritone Dashon Burton), bassoonist Rachael Elliott, oboist Catherine Lee, and Shawn Mativetsky, professor of tabla and percussion at McGill University. Her scores are available from the Canadian Music Centre, Galaxy Music, Hal Leonard and E.C. Schirmer.

About BandQuest® and American Composers Forum

The BandQuest® series is commissioned and published by the American Composers Forum (St. Paul, MN), an organization that has supported the creative spirit of today’s composers since 1975 by linking communities with composers and performers, encouraging the making, playing, and enjoyment of new music. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.