The glass ceiling between living composers and those of a hundred years ago seems to be splintering. One of the principal agents is Dallas-native Christopher Theofanidis. He is one of the most sought-after composers today, with performances by over seventy orchestras worldwide. While he’s had plenty of attention from major orchestras, not to mention commissions by two of the nation’s largest opera companies (Houston and San Francisco), he’s also connecting with audiences in smaller towns, like Shreveport, Biloxie, and Sheboygan.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon selected Theofanidis’s First Symphony for an NPR feature “5 American Symphonies You Should know” saying, “This is music that can stand alone on its gestures and harmonic development, and also convey a profound emotional journey through 35 roller coaster minutes. It is joy, agony, discovery and exclamation—a statement of life in the 21st Century.”
This weekend, Theofanidis’s latest score, The Legend of the Northern Lights, for orchestra and narrator, receives its world premiere performances on Friday and Saturday at the Pritzker Pavilion. Lyric Opera Orchestra violist Frank Babbitt narrates the children’s story as projections of the aurora borealis beam onto an enormous screen above the orchestra.