I had the the unique privilege to commission a work by not only a fellow colleague at The University of Texas at Austin, but to commission a work from a saxophonists in the UT Saxophone Studio and my former student, Jack Roberts. Jack is a bright, young composer who was eager to write a new work for me.
With “as one.," the goal was to create a contemporary work that was emotionally engaging and politically aware, and that would be accessible upon first listen. I asked Jack that the concept be related to the US political climate, and we worked through several versions of a concept before settling on this - though, the prevailing thought from the beginning was that it should bring people together and, ultimately, provoke thought. So, was the solution partisanship in hopes of inspiring strong feelings in the listener? Or, was the solution to focus on principles that seem to be universally agreed upon? We decided on the latter, enshrining fairly widely-embraced values that seek to unite, not divide.
“as one” tells the story of overcoming differences, and celebrating them
Because in the end, "we rise or fall as one."
This work was premiered by me at the North American Saxophone Alliance Region 4 Conference in Stillwater, Oklahoma on March 25th, 2017. It was recorded in the Recital Studio on The University of Texas Campus on March 30th, 2017.
Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/jackrobertscomposer/as-one