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Losing Earth

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Adam Schoenberg

Adam Schoenberg

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General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 23:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Percussion and orchestra
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

When I was first commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony to write this piece, I began to think about the history of percussion and how it can be traced back to the beginning of time. It is the most earthy and grounded of instruments, and in many cultures is considered to be the heartbeat of music.

[…] The piece begins with a march that is meant to represent our mundane day-to-day existence; the experiences that we inevitably take for granted, as we become absorbed in our daily lives. But as the march progresses, disruptions begin to occur. […]

After the march‐like section comes to a screeching halt, we enter the second section of the piece, which represents the inevitable loss of our beloved coastline. With our sea levels quickly rising, will the majority of this land be under water in a couple of decades? […] The vibraphone sets up a slow, oscillating world that is meant to reflect a sense of being underwater. This is a very atmospheric and dreamy section, featuring multiple string divisions and gentle winds and brass. […]

As the second section comes to an end, a dark texture slowly emerges and helps transition us to the third and final section of the concerto. This represents the imminent call to action that is needed in order to try and save our world.

- Program Note by composer

In creating the work, Schoenberg worked closely with soloist Jake Nissly, “to make the piece as personally unique and artistically boundary-pushing as possible” (Nissly). The concerto was inspired by an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. Reading the piece by Nathanial Rich inspired Schoenberg with the idea of reflecting on climate change in his own musical language.

- Program Note from publisher


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 15 May 2020 (Performance scheduled, but concert canceled)

Works for Winds by This Composer