Competing Composers Hear Their Works ... Adding Flesh to the Bone

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It was adding flesh and spirit to the bones yesterday when the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Darryl One, sight-read new compositions that are finalists in the Fresh Ink 2000 Florida Composers Competition.

Six of the seven finalists were present at the rehearsal, birds on the wire, in most cases listening to their own work played by a symphony orchestra for the first time.

Composers must generally develop their symphonic ideas in their heads, working at the piano or synthesizer or with small ensembles. Almost no one has a 50-piece orchestra on call for working out the kinks.

The rehearsal, at which works by Mark Schubert, A. Paul Johnson, Jason Freeman and Scott McAllister were played, was open to the public. The rehearsal yesterday and open rehearsals at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. today are part of the symphony's ambitious 50th anniversary celebration.

The winning composition will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday at Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall.

Yesterday, several dozen new music enthusiasts were scattered around Jacoby Hall, curious, rewarding each composition with polite applause.

None of the work was difficult for the sake of difficulty, or what is politely called inaccessible when what is meant is unbearable.

The academic fancy for inaccessible, 12-tone, discordant and disturbing work has faded, commented Jeff Driggers, a scholar of new music and former head music librarian at Jacksonville Public Library, who was in the audience yesterday. …