Phenomenal Women is currently being revised and edited by the composer. There will be an announcement on social media and on this website when it is available for rental. Thank you all for your interest in this piece.
Phenomenal Women is about celebrating women's efforts to overcome adversity.
The Work comes in two versions:
Phenomenal Women: Concerto for Wind Quintet Soli and Chamber Orchestra (2018)
Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra (ACO)
and premiered by Imani Winds and ACO at Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, November 2nd, 2018.
Duration: 27 minutes
6 Movements: 1. Maya 2. Katherine 3. Caravana 4. Serena 5. Michelle 6. Claressa
Phenomenal Women for Chamber Orchestra (2019)
Commissioned by the Library of Congress
Premiered by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at the Library of Congress, June 1, 2019
Duration: 24 minutes
4 Movements: 1. Maya 2. Caravana 3. Michelle 4. Serena
Description from the composer: "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra approached me with a special request, to create a version of PW in which the soloists parts are embedded throughout the orchestra. It seemed like an easy thing to do, but instead I decided to take the piece a slightly different direction, condensing the 6 movements into 4, where the material is not simply reassigned, but developed further into something that is more organic to the intimate nature of a chamber orchestra. The biggest example of this is the 4th movement, Serena, in which new material was introduced to transform the former inner movement into a finale, and the the second movement, Caravana, where the flute cadenza is slightly shortened to accommodate new developments within the pre-existent material.
PHENOMENAL WOMEN is a concerto for Wind Quintet and Chamber Orchestra to be premiered by Imani Winds and American Composers Orchestra on November 2nd, 2018, 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 is making a difference in her hometown of Flint, Michigan; a town ravaged by contaminated water, athlete Serena Williams' ongoing perseverance 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.
"Ms. Coleman’s “Phenomenal Women” is a six-part concerto grosso for wind quintet, written for the ensemble Imani Winds. (She was the group’s founding flutist.) The juxtaposition of instrumental solos, chamber ensemble and orchestral textures created moments of memorable freshness and color.
Five movements are dedicated to women who inspired Ms. Coleman — Angelou, the NACA (later NASA) mathematician Katherine Johnson, the tennis star Serena Williams, former first lady Michelle Obama, and Claressa Shields, an Olympic boxer. This allowed Ms. Coleman to show off her gifts for tone painting. She brilliantly captured the thwack-thwack of a tennis ball bounced in preparation for a serve. Staccato oboe notes tapped out a stream of digits in the movement dedicated to Johnson, while excited ascending figures traced the eventual liftoff of a spacecraft. The five Imani players performed the music with charisma and verve.
Tucked between these portraits was a poignant movement dedicated to the mothers walking in the caravan of migrants headed for the American border. A solo flute (the elegant Brandon Patrick George) wove echoes of Brahms’s classic Lullaby into a series of increasingly agitated flourishes. The music spoke of both tenderness and terror." Corinna da Fonseca-Willheim, The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/arts/music/review-american-composers-orchestra.html
"First on the program was Valerie Coleman’s “Phenomenal Women,” a suite of four movements inspired by admirable women, in a new chamber orchestra adaptation commissioned by the Library of Congress. Coleman effortlessly veered into jazz styles, such as the smoky tango in the “Maya Angelou” movement, and used percussion strikes humorously to evoke the smack of tennis balls in “Serena Williams.” The virtuosic playing of flutist Brandon George lit up the “Caravana” movement, dedicated to immigrant women crossing the U.S. southern border only to be separated from their children." Charles T. Downey, The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/orpheus-chamber-orchestra-and-jan-lisiecki-close-tour-with-library-of-congress-concert/2019/06/02/cd0b14d4-8541-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html?utm_term=.fa2a11bc123e
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, to request a perusal score, or more, contact Jonathan Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For booking Imani Winds, contact Bill Capone at Arts Management Group.