CSP Great Contemporary Composer Event
Featuring Peter Boyer, live from the San Gabriel Foothills, CA
Co-sponsored by the PACIFIC SYMPHONY
ELLIS ISLAND: The Dream of America
Join us for a special CSP Independence Day weekend discussion with composer Peter Boyer focused on his Grammy-nominated contemporary classical work "Ellis Island: The Dream of America," to be broadcast nationally on PBS on Friday, July 3 at 9 p.m. (PDT). Commissioned by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the inaugural season of its Belding Theater, “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream. Innovative in its format, the work brings elements of the theater and multimedia into the concert hall, employing actors and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives. The spoken texts for the work come from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, an historic collection of interviews with actual immigrants about their experiences emigrating to America. After extensive research in this archive, Boyer chose the stories of seven immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island from disparate nations between 1910-1940. He fashioned short monologues from the actual words of these immigrants and wove them into an orchestral tapestry which frames and comments on their stories—by turns poignant, humorous, moving, and inspiring. The work concludes with a reading of the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus (“Give me your tired, your poor…”), providing an emotionally powerful ending to this celebration of our nation of immigrants. Since its 2002 premiere, Ellis Island has gone on to enjoy tremendous success, becoming one of the most performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years. The work has received over 200 live performances by more than 100 different orchestras, an exceptionally rare milestone for a contemporary orchestral work. More than 300,000 people have experienced the work live, and its performances regularly have been met with standing ovations.
Sponsor: Community Scholar Program (CSP); Pacific Symphony