Through a Different Lens - An Interview with Adam Berndt and Carl Holmquist By Guest Contributor Jacob Polancich / Composers' Corner Volume XVIII

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March, 2018

with Guest Contributor Jacob Polancich

Through a Different Lens An Interview with Adam Berndt and Carl Holmquist
My last Composers’ Corner entry, “Connect...Create...Culminate,” discussed the importance of commissioning new music in the school setting. Throughout the commissioning process, we are charged with adding a new piece of music to the repertoire while teaching unique and creative life-skills to our students. Our students at Arrowhead Union High School (WI) have certainly reaped the benefits of this process over the last several years. Throughout the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, the Arrowhead Union High School Bands have been very engaged with the music of composers Adam Berndt and Carl Holmquist.

Adam Berndt’s newest work, Dream Casting, is a 6-minute, grade 4 for wind ensemble that was composed in 2017 with the premiere performance in February 2018. Adam describes Dream Casting with the following program note: “I find the mystery and the levity within the common use of dreams as story-telling devices to be stimulating in a musical-creative sense and the multiple meanings of the word “casting” to cast (pun intended) such a wide net of imaginative inferences that audiences should be able to find at least some small thing to entice their creative thinking while listening to the work.” We met Adam in 2016 through a mutual colleague and began the dialogue of a commission project .

Carl Holmquist’s newest work, Summerscapes, is a three-movement, grade 4.5 for wind ensemble that explores the joys of summer, childhood, and endless youthful energy. Carl and I met in 2008 at the NBA Young Conductor/Composer Symposium and have remained good friends and colleagues ever since. Our own children are the same age (8 and 6) and we have experienced the joys of parenthood on a similar timeline. Carl and I connected late last year with an idea for a piece that exemplifies the honest joy a child and parent take when playing at a park. The work was recently completed on March 1, 2018 and will premiere in May of 2018.

I caught up with both composers and asked them about the creative process, their music, influences, and their hopes for new music through the lens of music education.
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