This summer, Christopher Stark, assistant professor of music in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, presented two world-premiere compositions at major venues for contemporary classical music.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s New Music Group—with generous support from Pacific Harmony Foundation—commissioned Stark’s “Cascade” as part of its signature Green Umbrella series. The piece, which is intended to evoke a walk in the Cascade Mountains, debuted June 1 under the baton of celebrated conductor John Adams. “The intensity builds,” writes the San Francisco Classical Voice, “until the entire auditorium felt like it was immersed in an all-out cloudburst.”
Also debuting June 1 was Stark’s micro-opera “From the Field,” commissioned by San Francisco’s Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Inspired by Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange, who documented the lives of migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl, the piece features libretto by Stark’s sister, Megan, associate professor at the University of Montana.