"Teton Pass" chosen by Winston-Salem Symphony
The Winston-Salem Symphony has chosen “Teton Pass” by Thomas Little to perform on its Concert for the Community on February 3, 2018. The piece was premiered on April 25, 2017 by the UNCSA Symphony under the direction of Music Director Christopher James Lees. Thomas is a college junior studying with Dr. Michael Rothkopf.
Of the work, Thomas writes:
My family and I have a habit of going on long cross-country road trips in the summers,
and on June 1st, 2013, we found ourselves en route to Grand Teton National Park in
northwest Wyoming. While I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a great many beautiful
places, the sights and experiences of that day have stuck with me ever since, and
when it came time to write a a large orchestral piece, it served as an obvious point
of inspiration. The four movements—“Teton Pass,” “Chapel of the Transfiguration,” “Moose” and
“Oxbow Bend” —all evoke different aspects of my time in what I truly believe to be
America’s most underrated National Park.
This movement, “Teton Pass,” is named after a hazardous road that serves as the fastest route from Idaho Falls to Jackson, WY. The movement—and piece—opens by introducing fragmented melodies between statements of a rumbling engine noise as provided by the cellos and basses. The struggle up the mountain continues as the music opens up, but eventually settles down as it evokes the distant serenity of the Teton range. The middle section of the movement is a tone poem evoking the experience of being at the top, but eventually the engine starts up again for the terrifying downhill journey. The brass chorale at the end signals a safe arrival in Jackson Hole, before ending quietly with metal percussion and string harmonics.
The Winston-Salem Symphony has been premiering pieces by UNCSA student composers annually since 2009.