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Florida Fanfare Project: On the ‘Horizon Gravy’

This just might be the most intriguing title of a work in the entire Florida Orchestra season: Horizon Gravy.

Sounds delicious, but what does it mean? We asked Paul Reller, a University of South Florida associate professor of music who composed the piece as part of TFO’s Florida Fanfare Project to celebrate its 50th season.

“I generated it using an app that puts random words together,” he said. “I decided to use the title because it was so positive and forward looking: ‘Horizon,’ speaking of the future, and ‘gravy’ speaking of positivity.”

Reller is director of USF’s Systems Complex for the Recording and Performing Arts Electronic Music Studio and teaches electronic music, acoustic composition, and the History of Blues and Rock Music. He also helped start the Bonk Festival of New Music.

So don’t expect the short piece to be a typical fanfare when it opens Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture concerts Oct. 27-29. “I am really a modernist in how I deconstruct such an idea. For this piece, it’s as if you start out in a fanfare but instantly get caught in a cubist’s idea of such,” Reller said.

Reller is among five composers in the orchestra’s Fanfare series, in which the orchestra presents a series of world premieres by composers from universities around the state on select Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concerts. The short “celebratory fanfares’’ could be any genre, but they had one restriction: Each piece must be between three and five minutes long.

Composing the work for the Fanfare Project is not something Reller took lightly, calling it “truly one of the greatest honors of my career.”

He believes commissioning new music is critical.

“There wouldn’t be a repertoire if there hadn’t been new works at one time. The orchestra is an amazing ensemble, capable of anything. Generating new works is just one of the byproducts of such a group of creative individuals. It really is a blessing to live in an area with such an ensemble.”

If you go

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Michael Francis, conductor

Reller: Horizon Gravy
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, “Little Russian”
Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture

Fri, Oct 27, 8 pm, Straz Center, Ferguson Hall
Sat, Oct 28, 8 pm, Mahaffey Theater
Sun, Oct 29, 2 pm, Mahaffey Theater – Matinee

Tickets: $15, $30, $45
Free tickets for kids and teens available in advance, with adult ticket purchase.

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