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The following events are the most recent updates from the composer.
Letters to a Terrorist Released March 3rd, 2019
Defined as "a magical experience of pulsing, ebbing and flowing" by KnoxTNToday, Craig Michael Davis' music explores relevant issues such as the destructive role Islam plays in the lives of underrepresented women. Craig doesn't shy away from politically charged topics of interest.
Going on sale March 3rd, Craig's newest opera-ballet, "Letters to a Terrorist," explores a riveting example of this destruction through the anecdotal experience of an Algerian woman. A gripping work that spans the emotional range of the human experience from love and marriage to executions and betrayal.
“I sensed his death was imminent. For some time before it happened, I’d sit in front of the T.V., at eight o’clock, expecting to see the latest terrorists killed. My husband, Ahmed, died a month ago. His body was recovered but they never found his head.”
Executions, betrayal, and denial mark the opening of this love story between a terrorist and his wife in the Northern region of Algeria. Nadia, the protagonist, finds herself caught between her family and the man she loves, while she wrestles with the teachings of Islam and her husband, Ahmed’s, expectations. All the while, Ahmed is rising through the ranks of the Groupe Islamique Armé, or G.I.A., to become head Emir of the organization. Their one goal is to, “purge the land of the ungodly,” with the slogan, “no agreement, no truce, no dialogue.” To accomplish this, the G.I.A. utilizes violent measures against civilians, not limited to kidnapping, assassination, and bombings.
A life written in letters, Nadia writes her experiences as she realizes that Ahmed has become a leading figure in “the fight against the tagout (non-muslim).” She admits boughs of extreme love and infatuation, grapples with betrayal, loyalty, mistrust, deceit and infidelity, and ultimately reaches a place of apathy, only to find the entire town turning on her, her newborn baby and a form of terrorism and bloodlust that she never wanted any part of. Though very real, Nadia’s story has been silenced for socio-political reasons. However, through our collaborative efforts and imaginative storytelling, Nadia’s story, which is that of many women like her, can be heard, on the world stage through the expressive power of music, song, and dance.
The Knox TN Today wrote a wonderful review of “Floating Cities” performed by the IU Guitar Ensemble at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
One of the most interesting pieces on the program was Craig M. Davis’ “Floating Cities,” commissioned by IU Guitar Ensemble. Duarte encouraged the audience to move around the auditorium during the piece to get different listening perspectives on the music. The players on one side of the group initiated a phrase, followed by the players opposite them playing a kind of echo, producing the effect of a dynamic sense of depth.The sound flowed in wave patterns with the sound level rising and lowering while at the same time the voices moved from one side to the other. It was a magical experience of pulsing, ebbing and flowing.
-Harold Duckett, Knoxville TN Today
Read the entire article here.
OREGON BACH FESTIVAL 2018
Craig is excited to announce that he has been commissioned for a new work by the Oregon Bach Festival. He will be traveling to the University of Oregon, at Eugene, to work with Philip Glass, Martin Bresnick, Richard Danielpour, Robert Kyr, Lisa Moore, and many other fabulous composers and musicians.
About the Festival:
"Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) is an annual celebration of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and his musical legacy, held in Eugene, Oregon, United States, in late June and early July. The Executive Director is Janelle McCoy. The role of artistic director was previously held by German organist and conductor Helmuth Rilling.
The festival's programming is three-fold. It presents a diverse slate of concerts and guest artists, which in recent years has included non-Bach-related programs by Garrison Keillor, Bobby McFerrin, Frederica von Stade and Yo-Yo Ma; it maintains a focus on choral-orchestral repertoire, including commissions and premieres; and it undertakes extensive educational activities, most famously a conducting master class that draws participants from around the world as well as a Youth Choral Academy, the Stangland Family Youth Choral Academy, directed by conductor Anton Armstrong of St. Olaf College and a Composers Symposium directed by composer Robert Kyr. The Wall Street Journal has called the OBF "one of the world’s leading music festivals."
The Oregon Bach Festival is a donor-supported program of the University of Oregon. The activities of the festival are concentrated at Eugene's Hult Center for the Performing Arts and at the University of Oregon's School of Music & Dance, primarily at Beall Hall.
Composing in the wilderness
Craig went to Fairbanks, Alaska on July 6th, 2015 for a 'Composing in the Wilderness' adventure with Stephen Lias and other composers. After hiking in Denali National Park and Coal Creek Mining Camp, they flew to Fairbanks to work and rehearse newly written pieces with Concert Black, a Contemporary Music Group based in Brooklyn.
The resulting work was a piece for SSATTB Chorus, Glockenspiel, Bass Drum, and Double Bass, titled, "Selah."
"I began and finished writing [Selah] while composing in 'Denali National Park' and 'Coal Creek' in Alaska. The main impetus came from one of the hikes when I hiked up to the top of a mountain in order to get a breathtaking view of the entire Denali Mountain Range. Once I reached the top and sat down, the clouds opened and a beam of light came down and shown on top of the mountain I was on. As the Earth rotated and the light began to travel down the side of the mountain to another hill nearby, it began to snow. So, I decided to, somehow, incorporate the text I was reading into the piece I was writing. Using Psalm 50 as this text, Selah embodies the beauty of the wild and the omniscience of the Creator of this beautiful landscape. The term Selah means - to pause, and, in this piece, the performers pause after many phrases in the beginning and ending sections. The space in the music allows the listener to meditate on the message and enjoy the providence found within the text."
-Craig Michael Davis
The L'viv Philharmonic Premieres "re-Creation"
The L'viv Philharmonic Orchestra, in Ukraine, premiered the first movement of, Re-Creation last April (2015) as part of the 2015 Sacrarium Sacred Music Festival. The week long festival began with lectures and performances from Ukrainian Nationalists and concludes with a concert of works by composers from China, Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Italy, Canada and the United States. Craig was a finalist in the composition competition.
The JACK Quartet Commission
After spending a year studying major string quartets and writing a string quartet for The JACK Quartet, The JACK premiered Innocent Bystander at the Providence Playhouse in New York City on April 26th, 2015. Craig met the JACK Quartet early in 2015, and has enjoyed working with them to create the final product that culminated in this two movement work.
"Innocent Bystander was inspired by a vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada, where I met with a friend I hadn’t seen for years. In the two short movements of the string quartet, I tried to capture the awe-inspiring power of the massive, half-frozen falls. Though it was freezing cold outside, the rushing waves pushed on over the huge chunks of ice that had frozen months ago. The first movement portrays the slow, calmness of the water as it pushes towards the falls, whereas the second movement depicts the quick, vertical descent towards the bottom of the falls."
-Craig Michael Davis
JACK HARRISON PUBLISHING CO.
Craig is thrilled to announce that Jack Harrison Publishing Co. will be publishing 'Re-Creation,' 'Innocent Bystander,' 'Resonance,' '...death has friends,' 'The Ground Beneath My Feet,' and '12 Piano Etudes,' in September 2015. Full scores and parts will be available online through www.amazon.com. Recordings of the works can be found on the Music/Works page of this site and represent a wide array of works for large ensemble as well as solo piano pieces.