Turning Two Hundred

for orchestra, jazz band, soloists, electro-acoustic music, video, and dance (2004)

(duration ca. 50 minutes)


Commissioned by Ohio University to commemorate its bicentennial, Turning Two Hundred is a large 50-minute work for orchestra, jazz band, soloists, electro-acoustic music, handbell choir, video, and dancers. It is not a staged documentary, nor a historical drama. Instead, it is a reflection not only on the formal history of the university, but on the many smaller stories and personal histories that have intertwined themselves with that more monolithic history. It unfolds as a series of abstract movements for live musicians and dancers, framed by video montages that are more specific to the sense of history and place. With the exception of College Life, which is scored for live jazz band, the videos are underscored with electro-acoustic music.  I wanted to create a work that would include as many collaborators as possible, satisfy public expectations for a highly celebratory and public event, and yet represent a significant personal artistic statement.

Ultimately, it was a massively collaborative venture, with contributions from a large number of people — a choreographer, more than a hundred performers (musicians and dancers), a videographer, as well as numerous poets, novelists, visual artists, scholars, and a large technical production crew — all collaborators in the traditional sense of the word.  But in a broader sense of the word, my “collaborators” included the entire university community, past and present.

Program (no intermission and no pause between movements)

     Prologue (video montage with soundtrack)

  I. Appalachian Awakening

     Bricks and Mortar  (video montage with soundtrack)

II. Hard Work, Cold Cash

     Springtime on the Hocking  (video montage with soundtrack)

III. After the Flood

     The College Life  (video montage with jazz band)

IV. Stand Up and Swing

     Applied Learning  (video montage with soundtrack)

V. Into the Streets


Link to perusal/study score

Note: a DVD of the premiere performance is available

Applied Learning — soundtrack (mp3) ; AppLearn-30fps.mp4