Officers of the Tehachapi Symphony Board of Directors excitedly show off the $5,000 check they received from The Bakersfield Californian Foundation to perform the world premiere of a new work of music. Officers include, from left, Phyllis Belcher, vice president/secretary; Jane Hartman, treasurer, and Gayel Pitchford, president.

Courtesy of Phyllis Belcher

The Tehachapi Symphony has received a grant from The Bakersfield Californian Foundation to perform the world premiere of a new work of music by a California composer. This concert will take place during the 2017-18 season, which will be the orchestra’s 20th anniversary season.

The Symphony has performed two world premieres of new music during its first 20 years: "Ceremoniale" by Raymond David Burkhart and "What if Mozart Played with Bill Monroe?" a concerto for bluegrass fiddle and orchestra, written by legendary fiddler Richard Greene, who actually came to Tehachapi to perform the piece with the orchestra.

Playing new works of music which reflect the times we live in helps an orchestra to stay relevant and attract new and younger audience members who may not have had the benefit of playing an instrument or studying classical music in school.

The call for new works of music has gone out as a composition competition. The winning composer will win a $1,000 stipend and the Symphony will arrange to have him/her come to Tehachapi for the dress rehearsal and concert. Requirements include that the work must be 6 to 12 minutes in length and must be scored for a medium-sized orchestra. Compositions must be submitted with a postmark no later than Aug. 15. All interested composers should go to the Symphony’s website, tehachapiorchestra.com or the Symphony’s Facebook page to learn all the parameters for the competition. If the Symphony receives a number of suitable works of music, it is possible that we could find grant money to do more world premieres in successive seasons.

As soon as a piece has been chosen, the Symphony will put out publicity about the music and when the world premiere will take place. It is fun to be a part of new things is happening in Tehachapi, so you will not want to miss this.

For more information on orchestra activities, visit the Symphony’s website at tehachapiorchestra.com.

Gayel Pitchford is the concertmaster for Tehachapi Symphony.