Monday, January 1, 1996

Work by Thomas J. McGah to be Premiered

Thomas J. McGah
In keeping with its long tradition of commissioning new works for concert band, the Concord Band will be presenting the world premier of Reflections of Emerson, a new composition by Boston composer Thomas J. McGah. A professor of composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, McGah has published many works in a variety of genres, including several compositions for concert band commissioned by the MIT Symphonic Band. McGah's new work is a unique composition for narrator and concert band based on writings of the great 19th century author Ralph Waldo Emerson, who lived in Concord for many years. Concord Band Music Director, Dr. William McManus, conceived the idea of commissioning a new work based on the writings of Concord authors, and the Band's Board of Directors was successful in obtaining a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support the project.

The new composition is a single movement work with five distinct sections, separated by excerpts from Emerson's writings. McGah has attempted to compose a piece to reflect musically the meaning of Emerson's words. The excerpts from Emerson's writing were selected by the composer. In the introduction to the piece, McGah says to the audience: "Let us listen and reflect upon four excerpts from Emerson's writings and ask ourselves the following–Is Ralph Waldo Emerson a man whose words speak to us 'moderns', or do his ideas and beliefs belong only to the past?"

Thomas McGah has been a member of the Berklee faculty since 1973. He holds memberships in a number of professional and musical organizations, including the Society of Composers; the International Alban Berg Society; and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).