ONNY Commissions Original Work from Noted Composer

Gregory Wanamaker

POTSDAM – The New York State Council on the Arts has awarded an Individual Artist grant to The Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY), the North Country’s only year-round professional symphony orchestra, on behalf of composer Gregory Wanamaker.  The Orchestra plans to debut the commissioned new orchestral work titled Still Life in Motion in spring 2022.

"The Orchestra of Northern New York is such an essential part of our cultural and artistic identity here in St. Lawrence County and the Adirondacks,” says the composer. “I am so grateful to the New York State Council on the Arts for supporting this wonderful new collaboration with ONNY to create a work for the North Country about our beautiful region,“ Wanamaker added.

Combining athletic virtuosity and lyrical expressionism, Gregory Wanamaker’s music has been described as “pure gold, shot through with tenderness and grace” (San Francisco Chronicle), “achingly  beautiful” (Palm Beach Daily News), “deeply romantic yet unsentimental” (I Care If You Listen), and “a technical tour de force” (Fanfare). 

“I have always been intrigued by Wanamaker’s compositional style as well as his varied palette of instrumental color, subtle nuances and relationships of rhythmic complexity,” says ONNY Music Director and Conductor Kenneth Andrews. “We are excited to premiere his original work as part of our 2021-2022 season of live concerts.”

Wanamaker’s earliest musical training began at age 6 in professional summer stock theater companies, and continued through both schooled and self-guided explorations through the American folk music of the  1960s, bebop and free jazz, and Western and global classical music of the late 20th century.

Prolific in all musical media from solo instrumental works to music for chorus and orchestra including  multimedia works, his best-known compositions are his chamber works that exploit unique timbral characteristics and technical extensions of wind instruments. To date, his virtuosic Duo Sonata for clarinet and saxophone has received over 500 performances world-wide and is featured on five commercial recordings. 

Dr. Wanamaker has closely collaborated with visual artists Carrie Mae Weems and Meggie George, choreographers Cheryl Wilkins-Mitchell and Guy Thorne, and more frequently the writer and director Garth Bardsley with whom he has created several works from intimate art songs to large works for chorus and orchestra. In addition, he created effects music for the film Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, produced by The Asylum for release on the Syfy Channel.

Previous commissioned works were supported in part by a National Endowment for the Arts 2011 Access to Artistic Excellence Grant. He also is the recipient of 2012 Individual Artist Commission from The New York State Council on the Arts in addition  to awards from ASCAP, The National Association of Composers/USA and Britten-On-The-Bay. 

His recent album Light and Shadows, Waves and Time features twenty-one musicians from around the globe in world premiere recordings of eight of his recent chamber works. Gregory Wanamaker publishes his own music,  which is available exclusively through his website at www.gregorywanamaker.com

The Orchestra of Northern New York (ONNY), a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization is s supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature."  For more information about ONNY, now in its 33rd year, visit www.onny.org, contact Executive Director Kathy Del Guidice at executivedirector@onny.org or call 315-212-3440.

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Gregory Wanamaker
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