Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra

During my first studio lesson with Ken Schaphorst at NEC, he looked at one of my compositions written for five horn players, plus the rhythm section and said, “Why don’t you expand this for the orchestra?”. Not having written anything for such a band before in my life thrilled me but also scared the shit out of me, because in NEC’s workshop orchestra, the composers also get to conduct their own pieces. So, just coming out of Istanbul with zero orchestra experience, standing in front of these amazing musicians and conducting them was probably one of the most fun yet challenging experiences in my life.

I want to share this composition of mine called ‘Nadir’. I love the opening section of this piece as well as the build up of the first soloist Ye Huang, echoing his clarinet on the walls of Jordan Hall at NEC. Below is the description of the piece.

In Turkish, “Nadir” means “rare”. This composition was inspired by my close musician friends in Istanbul during the summer of 2016, when the city was traumatized by various terrorist attacks and political upheavals, completely shattering the peace of mind for everyone in the city. Yet, these musicians found the courage to get together and play, making anyone hearing the music feel at least a little bit better. This composition is dedicated to all of those musicians that help to create that positive spirit.