From the Podium of Andrew J. Lyon...
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With renowned composer, colleague and dear friend Michael Schelle, celebrating my Columbus Symphony concert,
during which I conducted the U.S. premiere of his "Rain" (April 2015)

Big News About Three Premieres!

Hey Everyone,
Since last we spoke, things have been a bit nutty, but all in the very best way possible.  Altogether, highlights of the Summer of 2016 include THREE premieres, with one already in the books and another still "in the works".

First, a recap…
On May 22, the klezmer band I lead, the 65th Street Klezmorim (, gave its grand debut performance (#1 of 3 premieres on our list) at one of the major highlights of Indianapolis’ summer arts calendar: the Broad Ripple Arts Fair.  Not only did the band do a spectacular job - according to festival organizers who were in the audience – we were also informed that we are one of only two ensembles that secured a spot at the top of their wish list for next year’s festivities (make a note: May 20-21)!

Two weeks later on June 5 – though not exactly a premiere – the band made its triumphant return to the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival.  It was the group's first time back to the GCJF in twelve years, and an amazing experience being a part of the largest Jewish festival in the country.  According to the festival's website, the festival welcomed over 40,000 friends from across the greater Chicagoland and tri-state areas during the one-day event.
The 65th St. Klezmorim bringing a taste of
Indianapolis to Chicago during the
2016 Greater Chicago Jewish Festival
No better way to end a season of great music than with two incredible outings!

An Eye to the Future:  Being a Part of Something New 
One of the great responsibilities of a conductor is programming concerts that excite and engage audiences.  There’s no question that some of the standard repertoire will always draw a crowd.  But what about tomorrow?  What new pieces will capture our attention and push the envelope further?
That’s where I come in.
Since I began conducting, I have always sought out opportunities to work with living composers, and tried to keep my finger on the pulse of today’s new music.  Since 2006, I have had the honor of conducting the World Premiere performances of over 25 compositions, and I’m about to add two more to the count!

So, what’s the big deal about conducting a World Premiere?
Think about this:  Before computers and midi tools (Musical Instrument Digital Interface – computers sounding like real instruments), composers would write a piece on paper and then hope to find or create a pick-up ensemble to play the work, just so they could hear their notes played aloud.  If they were luckier still, a conductor would see the score or hear it played, and program the piece on a future concert. 
Talking with composer Aaron Krerowicz (right) during dress rehearsal for the 2008 world premiere of "Woods", his piece for chamber orchestra, piano and soprano
With today’s technologies and countless apps, composers can write, produce and publish a piece, and have a pretty-descent midi “recording” as a result.  They can then market the piece to an international community via social media, all without ever hiring a single musician.  But it’s still not considered having been “premiered” until its first LIVE performance. 
At the World Premiere performance, it is a special moment when the ideas, images, feelings and countless hours of writing all come to fruition on stage.  The music of the composer’s heart and soul becomes a part of the universe beyond themselves.  What I love, as both a conductor and sympathetic part-time composer, is being part of that process and helping to bring the piece to life.
Premieres 2 & 3 @ The International Conductors' Festival-Danville 
In the coming weeks, I will be conducting the World Premiere performance of a piece by English composer Bethan Morgan-Williams (#2 of 3).  The piece is being written – that’s right, it’s still in the works – in honor of the inaugural International Conductors’ Festival-Danville (KY) kicking off July 18.  ICF-Danville is the new sister festival to ICF-Kiev, Ukraine, the same "Kiev festival" where I made my international conducting debut back in 2007.
The exciting part about working with Bethan – and any living composer – is that I get to help shape the final product by talking with the composer about its orchestration, nuances, etc.
Lastly, during the final concert of ICF-Danville, I will conduct the Midwest premiere of David Sartor’s “Black Ball Counts Double” (#3 of 3; check out David’s website here).  As a fan of David's works for many years now, I’m beyond excited to bring his piece to Danville.  “Black Ball” is written for string orchestra, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser with its energy and complexity.  It will also be a great challenge for our festival orchestra, the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra from Manchester, England.

Both premieres will be given during the second weekend of ICF-Danville concerts: July 30-31. 

As ICF-Danville's Online & Social Media Coordinator, I'd like to tell everyone that the festival's 2-week calendar of events can be found on our website.  You can also follow all the action in Kentucky through the festival’s Facebook page, as well as on InstaGram and Twitter - both @icfdanville.

ICF-Danville - July 18-31, 2016

Bethan Morgan-Williams

David Sartor
This is what I live for, my friends.  Being at the forefront of musical creativity and exploration, and having a hand in showcasing today’s composers and tomorrow’s masterpieces.  It really doesn’t get better than this!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!!

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Andrew J. Lyon, Conductor · 1075 Broad Ripple Ave., Ste. 243 · Indianapolis, IN 46220 · USA

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