“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
An excerpt from Angelou’s PHENOMENAL WOMAN.
PHENOMENAL WOMEN is a concerto for Wind Quintet and Chamber Orchestra to be premiered by Imani Winds and American Composers Orchestra on November 2nd, 2019, with a following performance by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at the Library of Congress in 2019. Inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem and book, PHENOMENAL WOMAN is intended to shout an empowered tone as the arc of the multi-movement work leaps through storied moments of adversity and achievement.
Musical motifs are drawn from Angelou's sensuous and peppery verses, carrying emboldened harmonies and improvisational-stylized riffs from the soli, evolving into virtuoso exchanges between forces.
Each movement contains an overview of pivotal moments and characteristics found within the lives of each 'shero', that serve as catalysts from which main movements emerge and develop. The spirit and process behind the movements are informed by the efforts of phenomenal women who have energized me through their transcendental efforts: the struggles that poet Maya Angelou faced her life and her impact in the lives of women globally, how Olympic Gold medalist Boxer Claressa Shields grew up in Flint, a town ravaged by contaminated water, athlete Serena Williams' ongoing perseverances on the tennis court to become one the greatest athletes of all time, Michelle Obama's grace under pressure as the First Lady, mom and advocate for families and children, and the courage of immigrant mothers who have risked their lives to enter the United States and are fighting to reclaim their children. The segments are written with the capabilities and personalities of each Imani Winds member in mind.
Phenomenal Woman is about celebrating women's efforts to overcome adversity, no matter who and where you are.
Concerto for Wind Quintet and Chamber Orchestra (strings, ww, br, perc, pno, hp)
Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra (ACO)
and premiered by Imani Winds at Zankel Hall, November 2nd, 2018.
Phenomenal Women project welcomes presenting organizations, orchestras, conductors and wind quintet ensembles to join
as co-commissioners and/or presenters within the 2018-19 season and beyond.
For more information, contact Greg Evans, Operations Director of American Composers Orchestra.
For booking Imani Winds, contact Bill Capone at Arts Management Group.