As we lead up to our April 18th concert featuring music by Wisconsin composers, we are profiling some of the composers and their pieces that we are featuring. We hope that you come out and join us at Alverno College Chapel on April 18th at 7 p.m.!
Ethan Wickman: “Berlin”
Ethan Wickman’s music has been performed by ensembles and soloists around the world. He has received grants and commissions from the Barlow Endowment, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, the Utah Arts Festival, and Chicago’s Music In The Loft where he is the 2014-15 Composer-In-Residence. A former member of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty, he is now on staff at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an Assistant Professor of Music.
His resume and catalog of works is quite impressive. The piece that we are performing, “Berlin,” is an excerpt of a larger five-movement piece called “Let the Word Go Forth,” which was commissioned in 2012 for a Presidents Day Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The purpose of that festival was to commemorate the life of President Kennedy during the year of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas.
“The commissioners wanted to use presidential speeches, or other appropriate texts that might commemorate JFK,” says Wickman. “I certainly wanted to do that, but I also wanted to create something more universal–something that would go beyond the bounds of politics and get to the heart of what I think the JFK legacy is–which is that youth, hard work and a belief in public service can change the America and the world for the better. We live in a post-Watergate era of intense cynicism about politics. I felt a deep commitment to go beyond this in my work–to try and lift us for a moment out of the ideological trenches. ”
“Let the Word Go Forth” is a line that comes from President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration speech. “Berlin” is the fourth of the five movements in the piece.
“The text comes from his famous speech at the Brandenburg gate in West Berlin in 1963,” Wickman says. “I love the tone of defiance against oppression, particularly in the words ‘freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free’ that come at the climax of this movement.”
The piece garnered a lot of praise and attention, both in the media and in the musical community.
Berlin is certainly one of the pieces that is bound to make an impression on our audience members. We hope that you enjoy the piece!
To learn more about Mr. Wickman, visit his website, www.ethanwickman.com.