"Music empowers us, it heals us, and it also can create positive social change in the culture." So reads the philosophy that drives Heitzeg.
His newest composition, "Peace March, is dedicated to the memory of Paul and Sheila Wellstone. The piece debuted at the Double Reed Concert in Urness Recital Hall on Jan. 21.
"Peace March, composed in December 2002, is one of Heitzegs trademark "ecoscores" handwritten musical scores fully represented on a single sheet of tree-free paper. Heitzeg says he tries to compose at least one ecoscore each year as a way of evading the confines posed by his commissioned musical works. After the tragic Wellstone plane crash in late Oct. 2002, Heitzeg found himself compelled to create a tribute to the cause of the late Senator and his wife.
"Paul and Sheila dedicated their lives to peace and justice," Heitzeg said. "My wife and I were supporters, so I wanted to do something to honor their lives, and their unselfish gift to the world."
The four-minute work was scored for the English horn, snare drum and timpani. It revolves around four repetitions of two lyrical horn melodies and is accompanied by percussion. Between each repetition, the performers are directed to say one of nine words and phrases, such as "economic justice" and "no war," which pay tribute to the ideals held and demonstrated by the Wellstones. "Most marches in music come from a military tradition," Heitzeg explained, "and I thought that the idea of a peace march was just perfect."
"Peace March, performed by Katherine Schouten 04, Joshua Rundell 06 and Jeffrey Bina 06, was well-received by the audience and will be performed again this spring at a St. Olaf "Peace Concert" scheduled for the evening of April 8.
Other upcoming performances of Steve Heitzegs music include the Mar. 23 Minnesota Orchestra premiere of "The Last Full Measure", co-written with Philadelphia composer Amy Scurria, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, as well as the May 3 premiere of a three-movement work commissioned for the 125th anniversary of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra.
For more information on composer Steve Heitzeg, visit his web site at www.steveheitzeg.com.