THE PLANETS – a companion piece, 100 years later

As many of you know, Gustav Holst wrote “The Planets” between 1914-1916, but wasn’t premiered until 1918.
There are many concerts happening, or being planned, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his remarkable piece.

Recently, I was commissioned by the Lake Forest Symphony, where I am composer-in-residence, to orchestrate my 20 minute “Celestial Suite”.

The “Celestial Suite” – using the same instrumentation as The Planets – is an in-depth study of five astronomers who made major contributions to the world of astronomy and physics. Furthermore, the five movements examine the reactions by religious figures of the time to those new scientific revelations.
A quick sample is the 5th movement (click to listen) –  Hawking – in which I orchestrate the “sounds emitted by black holes being like that of a beating drum“, as well as the ending being a “nebulous cluster“.

Please click the following links to hear recordings of the other four movements:
I did a lot of research on the five individuals, and therefore a lot of creative thought went into this piece. The informative program notes have been found by many to be of great interest. You can read those here.

I would very much like for you to consider programming this work. The premiere was received enthusiastically.

Utah Symphony Holiday Concert

The Utah Symphony performed many of my holiday selections in December. Charlotte Craff, Artistic Operations Manager sent me a nice note about the concert. “I just wanted to send you a note to say that your arrangements went off in spectacular fashion for our Family Holiday program at the end of December. Our in-house holiday music selection is quite lean, a bit dowdy and serious, but your charts brought a fresh excitement to the familiar pieces. We really enjoyed it.”

Compose Yourself! – Wyoming Symphony

I had a great time working with the Wyoming Symphony on Compose Yourself!


Lake Forest Symphony – Violin Concerto

We’re having a great time in rehearsal! Here is soloist Jennifer Frautschi rehearsing my Violin Concerto which was written for her and the Minnesota Orchestra in 2009. I’ve reorchestrated the piece especially for the Lake Forest Symphony and Guest Conductor David Cho and I are working together in rehearsal. We look forward to sharing this great music with you this weekend!

Jim Stephenson with Violin Concerto Score  Jim Stephenson with Violin Concerto Score