Larry Tuttle is the winner of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s 2014 H.J. Heinz Company Audience of the Future Composition Competition. Larry’s winning work CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE was performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony under conductor Fawzi Haimor. (CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE was given its initial premiere by James Domine and the San Fernando Valley Symphony. The YouTube video of that performance was instrumental in Larry winning the contest in Pittsburgh).
Trained extensively in double bass from an early age, Larry’s youth growing up in Seattle was saturated with orchestral music. Larry’s bass mentors included Ron Simon, James Harnett and jazz legend Gary Peacock, with whom Larry studied ear training and improvisation. He also spent a summer studying with Oscar Zimmerman at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, where he was the principal bassist in the World Youth Symphony, playing and learning under a wide array of prestigious guest conductors.
An obsession with the bass guitar and a long detour through rock and pop music (including two albums released on Warner Brothers Records with the rock group RUSSIA) eventually led Larry to an eclectic instrument called the Chapman Stick, and a pop-classical hybrid group called FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC. Made up of viola, classical guitar, Chapman Stick and drums, FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC mixed twentieth century classical music with rock, pop and filmscore ideas, all unified by an intricate and complex arranging style.
FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC went on to release four CDs. THROUGH THE GATES, Larry’s disc of solo compositions for the Stick, is considered to be one of the landmark recordings of that instrument. Larry and his partner violist Novi Novog now perform and record as STRING PLANET.
Turning his attentions to concert music, Larry found success with his first orchestral work, the aforementioned winner of the Pittsburgh Symphony contest. He is currently a composing and performing member of CELA (Composers Ensemble of Los Angeles). He also composes for TV and film, with a long list of credits (see elephantfeathersmusic.com).
For a more complete view of Larry’s concert work, please visit www.larrytuttle.com
PROGRAM NOTES – TALES OF SCIENCE AND MAGIC
TALES OF SCIENCE AND MAGIC is a four-movement suite for orchestra. It’s loosely based on the relationship between logic and intuition, and is influenced by my love of speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy).
The first movement, THE INFORMATION AGE, is a world unto itself, a compact little mini-opus in a three-part form. The opening section is a portrait of a highly advanced and technological world - fast, extroverted, slightly distracted and fragmentary. Ideas proliferate, but disappear almost before you know they are there. A clarion call from the brass announces the transition to the center section, which is a much more focused and intuitive place. All of the music in this section grows from one basic theme, which is initially stated by the horns, and then moves through various moods as it is passed around the orchestra. Another call from the brass heralds the return of the A section, which this time around is optimistic and radiant, being fortified by the inclusion of the theme brought forward from the mid-section.
The second movement, THE INNER LANDS, is a quiet and tranquil introspection. The central musical idea is a three-voice chorale, which works hand-in-hand with a lyrical counter-melody. The only interruption of the mood is a brief set of luminous “revelation” chords, which appear out of nowhere to provide a lift, and then quickly return to stillness as the music moves on.
ANTI-GRAVITY SCHERZO is a lightweight and goofy little invention that serves to wake up the proceedings and bring us back from inner tranquility. It’s based on a simple little melody, so simple it might have been a nursery rhyme. The momentum ramps up, goes slightly out of control, and then transitions without stopping directly on to the final movement.
INFINITY’s CLOCK arrives out of nowhere, with a bang. It has a mammoth sound, using the full resources of the orchestra to create a huge and monolithic repeating riff. The main theme is build from wide interval leaps in the violins. The eventual return of the “revelation” chords from the second movement, this time sounding in the entire orchestra, leads to what I call a “hyper-coda”, where all of the main themes from the entire suite sound together in a big, loud messy montage.