Arapahoe Philharmonic inspires reflection with debut of orchestral composition in response to gun violence, featuring trumpet crafted from bullets and inspired by Parkland Shooting survivors
Littleton CO – The Arapahoe Philharmonic’s March 27 concert will premiere an original composition by award-winning composer Jack Frerer, written in response to gun violence in Colorado.
Frerer won the orchestra’s Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition. His arrival in Denver to accept the award in May 2019 coincided with the day of the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting.
Being in a community where this type of trauma was happening was a new experience for him, one that impacted him deeply. He was inspired to focus a new composition on “the landscape of Colorado gun violence through the varying perspectives of students, those who have aged beyond the classroom, and a community who love and are loved by students.”
Titled splinter, Frerer’s composition incorporates a libretto written by Denver youth poet laureate Xuan Chi Sullivan, who is now pursuing a graduate degree in playwriting at Columbia University in New York, and sung by baritone Luke Sutliff, also a Colorado-born artist and a Juilliard graduate. Both Sullivan and Sutliff have also been touched by the now-generational nature of gun violence in the state they love.
The Philharmonic has secured the Instrument of Hope, a trumpet crafted from bullet casings by Shine MSD, Inc., a nonprofit started by student survivors of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Arapahoe Philharmonic Principal Trumpeter Anthony Zator will play it for the premiere of splinter. This is the Instrument of Hope’s first visit to Colorado.
Frerer’s music and Sullivan’s words are meant to give the audience an opportunity to reflect, get inspiration, hope, and connection, both individually and together, rather than as a political statement. “We need to talk to each other to figure this out,” said Sullivan. “What’s needed is empathy and compassion, neighbor to neighbor,” added Sutliff.
Devin Patrick Hughes, Arapahoe Philharmonic’s music director and conductor, agrees with Frerer in the view of the orchestra as “a global model of cooperation,” and emphasizes the potential for that model as a path towards solving problems like violence in a community that is home to an orchestra whose mission embraces giving back to people through meaningful outreach.
Frerer has composed a chamber version of splinter for piano, voice and trumpet that will be performed in schools and as community outreach the week of the concert.
The March 27 concert, called “Apotheosis of the Dance,” will also feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and cellist Ethan Blake, winner of the 2019-2020 T. Gordon Parks Concerto Competition, performing Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque.
For more information on the Instrument of Hope: https://instrumentofhope.org/
For a music video featuring the Instrument of Hope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lCYPQ4Q8Ic&feature=youtu.be