To coincide with the opening this fall of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon in Virginia, the National Symphony Orchestra has commissioned george WASHINGTON, a new work by Roger Reynolds. NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach will lead the world premiere on October 3 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The work—which was co-commissioned with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, an organization that maintains the Mount Vernon estate, and the UC Washington Center, a University of California internship program based in Washington, D.C.—pieces together texts from letters, journals, and other writings, with voice-overs by three narrators representing Washington at different stages of his life. Images projected on multiple surrounding screens will show the estate at different seasons of the year, reflecting the view Washington would have seen from Mount Vernon’s cupola. Reynolds made several trips to Mount Vernon to gather sounds to be used in the piece, including birds chirping, wind in the trees, and the grinding of the gristmill. Mount Vernon is also working with the Kennedy Center to expand the project with an exhibit and additional events for students.  

Posted July 18, 2013