Music by

PROGRAM NOTES by the composer
Lamentations for String Orchestra

I spent the summer of 1977 in Hollywood as a summer apprentice at United Artists Records, very far removed from the composition department of Cornell University where I was an undergraduate at the time. During this internship I not only reviewed unsolicited tapes of rock bands, but I also alphabetized files for every department of the company, learning about the music industry as I spent time in each office.

Although fascinated by this little peek into the pop music industry, I missed being around classical music and was fortunate that the nearby Santa Monica Civic Symphony needed a 3rd Horn badly enough to let me sit in with my alto saxophone for the summer. I was also fortunate that music director Frank Fetta generously offered me a reading session of anything I composed during my brief stay. Unlike most volunteer orchestras, the strings were stronger than the winds that summer, so I decided to write a string piece. Inspired by the many performances I'd heard of Barber's Adagio that were very well-played for the first few minutes, then uncomfortable at the high-position climax, I wrote a slow introspective work that could be played well by student and volunteer ensembles.

The first performance of Lamentations was as a string quartet at my senior recital at Cornell in April 1978. The first full string orchestra performance was by the Transylvania Youth Orchestra at the Brevard Music Center in August 1978, conducted by Mario Mancinelli. The first professional performance was by the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia conducted by Marc Mostovoy on February 4, 1985.

last updated February 20, 2020