Four California orchestras have joined resources to commission a new work by composer John Christopher Wineglass. The co-commissioning groups — Fresno Philharmonic, Monterey Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and the San José Chamber Orchestra — expressed a shared interest new music that responds to the extraordinary nature of life during the pandemic. Wineglass’s responsive piece will be titled Alone Together, run approximately nine minutes, and will feature strings and percussion.
A joint statement from Wineglass and Fresno Philharmonic conductor Rei Hotoda explains the impetus and intent of the new work:
Alone Together addresses the social issues we are all facing during this pandemic — from not being able to perform together to even the systemic racial disparities given a world stage due to shelter-in-place. Despite all the setbacks of our present limitations, we are moving forward. This work is allowing us to continue our work as performers — to never lose sight of just how important the arts are and have always been. By creating this work, we are providing a way to connect to one another which is so valuable and something most of us probably once took for granted. We may feel alone at this moment but we as four performing arts organizations are coming to move forward together as one."
As of today, there are no firm plans for premiering the work. Each of the orchestras will announce its performance at a later date.
Trained at American University and New York University, Wineglass is perhaps best known for his film, television, and multimedia scores. He has been nominated for numerous Daytime Emmy and ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, and won three Emmys for his work on the popular daytime soap, All My Children.
His most recent symphonic work was a 2019 premiere of three movements from Requiem for Rice, a piece “dedicated to the lives of millions and numerous contributions of African and African-American forced laborers who cultivated the immense, expansive, and particularly wealthy rice economy in the Lowcountry.” A world-premiere of the full six-movement, multimedia work in Washington, D.C., is on hold pending strictures imposed by the pandemic.