What inspired you to create this new organization?
When I looked at my program's library, and when I would browse through sites like JW Pepper, I noticed just how poorly composers who are non-white and non-male were represented. And while I am a white male composer, I find it infuriating that colleagues and friends of mine who are much better writers than I am do not get as many opportunities due to their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Creating a more evenly-represented repertoire of music - specifically in the wind band world - has been a topic on the rise over the past few years, and rightfully so. There have been many projects popping up recently with similar missions as the Three Rivers Wind Symphony (such as And We Were Heard) , and in my area, The Pittsburgh Creators Project.
Very recently in the band world, a well-known and well-respected composer came under fire (and deservedly so), after it was discovered that he had written using a pseudonym making it appear that he was not only a female composer, but also a composer of Asian heritage. There is absolutely no reason for anything like this when there are a plethora of actual composers from every background. I decided the best way for me to combat this issue was to help introduce new, diverse, and authentic music into the wind band repertoire - which is the main goal of the Three Rivers Wind Symphony.
What are some goals you hope to accomplish with this group?
The three goals of the Three Rivers Wind Symphony are:
Are there any challenges that you believe you will endure while pursuing these goals? Do you have solutions in mind?
The number one challenge that we will be dealing with, especially in the early stages of the Three Rivers Wind Symphony's organization, is funding. We were just recently incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Pennsylvania, and are working towards eventually gaining 501(c)(3) status. Early fundraising initiatives will help us gain a better idea of what we can afford in our inaugural season (space/equipment rental, how many rehearsals/performances we can afford to pay musicians for, amount we can offer for commissions or awards for composition contests, etc.). We want to establish the Three Rivers Wind Symphony as a legitimate professional ensemble, and the start up of that is 100% dependent on applying for/receiving grants, support from sponsor/individual donors, etc..
Are there any particular projects that you're hoping to bring to life with this group?
Our number one goal, as stated above, is to introduce diverse, quality music to the wind band repertoire. At first, that may take place through composition contests to premiere new works by underrepresented composers. Our ultimate goal (which depends heavily on our funding) is to commission composers to write specifically for the Three Rivers Wind Symphony, and be able to produce high-quality recordings of those works.
This project is still very much in its infancy, so quite a few details are up in the air for now. We are still in the process of getting a few things organized such as planning fundraiser initiatives, securing rehearsal space, and planning out a tentative performance schedule that is coordinated around the many other wonderful ensembles located in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. We will make sure to update regularly through our Facebook, Instagram, and email list to inform interested parties in fundraisers, personnel openings, composition contests, etc.