“Organ Symphony” Enthusiastically Received

Disneyhall organ smallStephen Hartke’s Symphony No. 4 was premiered at Disney Hall by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel, with three concerts from November 20-22, 2014. On November 23 an additional performance was given in Costa Mesa, CA at Segerstrom Hall.

In his program notes, the composer writes, “I have to wanted to compose a symphony for organ and orchestra since I first started to write music at the age of ten. Thanks to the kindness and support of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, I was able not only to realize this dream but to sketch a good deal of the organ part at the console of the Disney Hall organ exploring its wonderful array of unique timbres. In casting the piece as a symphony with organ, it was my aim to use it as an integral part of the orchestral fabric, a fifth choir contributing its special colors in the way that only it can.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s principal keyboardist Joanne Pearce Martin performed the organ part for the premiere.

Robert Thomas of Pasadena Star-News writes, “One of the reasons orchestras have a hard time constructing programs for organ is a lack of main course selections beyond Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3. We now have a worthy alternative, thanks to the world premiere of Symphony No. 4 by Glendale resident and USC composition professor, Stephen Hartke.” Full article here.