Whose Philharmonic Is It?

By Sean Shepherd
Like many top American ensembles, the Philharmonic has fluctuated between worship of the glorious past (pretty damn good, no?) and the altogether messier business of interacting with these living guys (I’ll give it to them, we can be unpleasant!); sometimes the pendulum swings by the decade and sometimes by the week.

The Back Story

By Sean Shepherd
One thing all composers, including myself, slowly begin to realize in the rather slow, often-wrenching transition from wide-eyed kid to seasoned pro is that art imitates life: it’s just not fair.


Composer Sean Shepherd is back to blog his way through the world premiere of his first New York Philharmonic commission, These Particular Circumstances, as part of CONTACT!, the orchestra’s new music series.

Day Six: Crash-Course Fatigue

Exhaustion and its effects have begun to sink in, for all of us involved. The glazed-over look has become all the rage in the wing of Orchestra Hall we’ve taken over.

Day Five: Am I Hooked?

Have I lost focus, here in orchestra-orgasmafantasyland? Have I begun to think that now I would actually like to inhabit this world and set up a little patisserie?

Day Four: Bliss

A reading is one of those things that there is nothing you can do to prepare for (other than the hundreds of hours making the paper look good). Once you are there, it just happens, whether you’re ready for it or not.

Day Three: The Run-Up

It’s become a joke among us composers here in Minnesota. In our face-time meetings with members of the orchestra, when we get to the part when it’s time to talk about individual pieces, it happens without fail: “Now first, where’s Sean? Who wrote surface tension?”

Day One in Minnesota: Meet the Cast and the Band

It was a marathon of various happenings that started this morning. After our breakfast meet-and-greet with Aaron and Beth, the Orchestra’s artistic planning associate, we launched (and lurched) right into our first working meetings: sessions with members of the orchestra to discuss our pieces.

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