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Tina Davidson Receives Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer's Award

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Feb 11, 2015 11:50 AM
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Tina Davidson has a zeal for awakening in others a deep experience with music.

A highly-regarded and award-winning composer, she has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Lancaster Symphony Orchestra's annual Composer's Award. The Orchestra will perform her music in their upcoming concert, with performances February 20, 21 and 22. Davidson, who lived in Philadelphia for 35 years, now resides in Lancaster County. 

The concert will include the world premiere of her work, Barefoot, written for string orchestra. It's a piece she says she wrote in the dead of winter when it was icy cold, "and all I could do was dream of being barefoot, and having my feet on the earth." 

The idea of being barefoot also reminded her of the story of Moses and the burning bush, and how he was told to remove his shoes because he was on sacred ground. "So Barefoot is about the sacred ground of our earth and that connection to something bigger," she says.

Two of the performances will also include her work First Light, in which the Lancaster Symphony will be joined by the 3rd grade violin students of Burrowes Elementary School.

Davidson wrote the piece so that the students play and repeat a short melodic phrase, while the orchestra weaves a more complex tapestry of music around them.

The idea of having students perform with professional musicians is one that Davidson has explored in other compositions as well. Her idea is that the experience will awaken in the young performers a lasting connection with music.

She recalls an incident with one of the student players at the premiere of First Light,  "And this 5-year-old came up to me and she said,  'Did you write this piece for me?' And I said, 'Absolutely."

One of Tina Davidson's most recent works is one of 27 encore pieces commissioned by violinist Hilary Hahn from outstanding contemporary composers. The album just received a Grammy award. Davidson's piece is called Blue Curve of the Earth.  

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