May 25, 2011
Sophomore Cara Haxo's composition, "The Giving Tree," a new work for saxophone quartet, will be premiered by the highly acclaimed PRISM Quartet at Symphony Space in New York City on Friday, June 3.
WOOSTER, Ohio — A new work for saxophone quartet by Cara Haxo, a sophomore music composition major at The College of Wooster, will be premiered Friday, June 3, by the highly acclaimed PRISM Quartet at Symphony Space in New York City. The work will be repeated the following day at the Unitarian Church of Philadelphia.
Haxo’s composition, titled “The Giving Tree,” after Shel Silverstein’s children’s book of the same name, is an eight-minute narrative in one movement. The work is loosely inspired by Silverstein’s depiction of the relationship between a nurturing tree and a needy, dependent boy. Haxo, of Haydenville, Mass., composed “The Giving Tree” during the recently completed academic year. An alumna of the summer program of the Walden School in Dublin, N.H., she was the recipient of the PRISM/Walden School Young Composer Commissioning Award, which resulted in the commission.
Haxo’s work depicts incisive episodes in the lives of the two principal characters, beginning with the boy’s youth and concluding with old age. “Silverstein’s fable moved me deeply when I was young,” said Haxo. “My hope in composing the quartet was to evoke, in musical terms, the poignant timelessness of the narrative.”
Jack Gallagher, the Olive Williams Kettering Professor of Music at Wooster and Haxo’s adviser, said, “Cara’s ‘The Giving Tree’ is a moving, eloquently wrought work of disarming innocence and sincerity. Though Cara’s piece begins and ends serenely, the daunting virtuosity of the PRISM Quartet encouraged her to incorporate a wide range of expressive contrasts and technical demands that she traverses with assurance.”
The PRISM Quartet, described by The New York Times as “exciting” and “virtuosic,” celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. The quartet, a two-time winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, has premiered more than 100 works, and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and throughout Latin America. PRISM has also appeared with the Detroit Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, and maintains three annual Young Composer Commissioning Awards in Philadelphia, New York, and at the Walden School, where PRISM conducts regular residencies.
Haxo studies composition with Gallagher and piano with Laura Silverman at Wooster. A two-year member of the Wooster Chorus under Lisa Yozviak, Haxo is also a member of Wooster Fragments, a select vocal ensemble with which she will tour next week in Oxford, England. She hopes to continue composition studies through graduate school and teach at the college level.
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