Above: Meet Derrick Spiva
by Luke Martin
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) season opens this weekend (Sept. 19 -20) with the world premiere of CalArts alumnus Derrick Spiva’s (Music MFA 08) new piece, Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, as part of a program that includes Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major.
Spiva currently is in residency with LACO through New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras, programs that bridge new relationships between composers and orchestras and help orchestras present new music to the public.
LACO describes Spiva’s piece as a “joyous percussive work influenced by traditional West African drumming” and focused on complex repeated “polyrhythmic patterns and shifting meters.” Conceptually, Spiva sees the work as exploring a “search for beauty in life and nature through multiple and varied yet cyclical experiences.”
Many of Spiva’s cultural influences, which present themselves in this work, come from his time at CalArts, where he not only studied classical music, but also concentrated on learning West African music and dance, Balkan music theory and tala in Hindustani classical music. His unique combination of these sounds, theories and compositional strategies has led him to become deeply invested in developing a pan-cultural compositional style.
“Prisms, Cycles, Leaps” will be premiered at 8 pm on Saturday (Sept. 19) at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif., and at 7 pm on Sunday, Sept. 20 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. A post-concert reception follows each performance.
LACO Presents Derrick Spiva’s 'Prisms, Cycles, Leaps'
Sept. 19 at 8 pm
216 N Brand Blvd., Glendale
UCLA’s Royce Hall
10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles