Arrowhead Premieres

January 11, 2010
Arrowhead’s Wind Ensemble premiered Michael Markowski’s piece “Instinctive Travels” on December 3, 2009.
The process started in the summer of 2008 at a Young Conductor Symposia. Jacob Polancich, a band teacher at Arrowhead, met Markowski and talked about commissioning a piece, asking a composer to write a piece for a school, for the students.
“It’s a good learning experience,” Polancich said. “I wanted new and good music for the Wind Ensemble to play.”
While other pieces of music may have distinct stories behind them, Markowski’s “Instinctive Travels” did not have a story behind it.
“The concept of the piece is about evolution of music,” said Markowski. “The piece evolves on itself.”
Like other works, “Instinctive Travels” did not go according to plan.
“I started the piece in June and got the first draft by August,” Markowski said. “I did have some pre-planning for the piece and had a mindset for style. But I had no idea for an ending. I wanted to put some electronics in the piece, but it didn’t work.”
The students in Wind Ensemble were excited about premiering the piece. Joe Cox, a senior who plays the tuba said, “I like it. It’s fast paced and challenging; not too hard to make it not fun but not too easy so it’s not fun anymore.”
Mr. Polancich shared his view on the piece. “It’s an intense piece,” he said. “The piece turns a corner without any expectations. You just can’t predict where the piece is going.”
The premiere included a reading from the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” read by English teacher Frank Balistreri, an interview of some of the Wind Ensemble members, and the song “Sleigh Ride.”
Senior Jamie enjoyed the piece. “I liked it,” she said. “I thought the ending was good; how it ended abruptly but didn’t leave you waiting for more.”
Karen, another senior, also enjoyed the piece. “It was full of suspense and reminded me of a roller coaster,” she said. “It would build in intensity and then drop.”

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