The Wintergreen Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Mark Russell Smith, recently performed Daron Hagen‘s Postcards from America (1996). The performance took place as part of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival on August 5, 2017. This work received its premiere in 1996 and was co-commissioned by the Oakland East Bay and Waukesha Symphony Orchestra.
Postcards from America is a collection of six musical portraits, dedicated to people and places in Hagen‘s life.
- Yaddo, Summer 1988
- Lake Mendota, Summer 1981
- Saint Mark’s Place, Autumn 1990
- Mount San Angelo, Winter 1988
- Delancey Place, Autumn 1983
- The Dakota, October 1990
Hagen explores each movement in depth on his website, and offers the following note: “Each movement was composed at the time and in the place noted in the title, assembled and orchestrated during July and August of 1996 in New York City and completed on August 17, 1996.”
Mark Russell Smith is the current Music Director and conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Minnesota. A champion of the music of our time, Smith led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Engine 408 series, working closely with living composers and added his unique perspective to enhance that orchestra’s great tradition of fostering new works. He has collaborated with YoYo Ma and members of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in Hún Qiáo (Bridge of Souls), a concert of remembrance and reconciliation featuring world premieres by Korean, Japanese, Chinese and American composers. He is a graduate in cello performance of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Claus Adam, and of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller. While at Curtis, Smith was first prize winner in the National Repertory Orchestra Conductors Competition, and upon graduation, was named Assistant Conductor of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Singers. From 1989 to 1994, Smith served as Associate Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and from 1992 through 1999 served as Music Director of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.