ORGANIC ARCHITECTURE: AN ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF PERFORMANCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR MICHAEL GILBERTSON’S USONIAN DWELLINGS
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Modern wind conductors face the perennial problem of searching for quality repertoire to perform with their ensembles. The comparison is often made between the quality of repertoire available to bands versus orchestras, and bands have always fallen short. Efforts are being made to add quality works to the wind band repertoire through commissions and advocacy for contemporary composers. Usonian Dwellings is a new work that deserves a lasting place in the wind band repertoire, and its composer, Michael Gilbertson, has the potential to become a significant voice in the wind band repertoire. Though he is relatively young, his work has already earned him significant recognition. Most notably, he was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Commissioned by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Usonian Dwellings was premiered on their tour of Japan in 2019. As a member of “The President’s Own,” I am in a unique position to document the development and premiere of this new work through a combination of primary source documents and personal accounts.
Usonian Dwellings is a work heavily influenced by the aesthetic of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose buildings serve as inspiration for this work. In particular, Wright’s concept of “organic architecture” is demonstrated throughout the work, most notably through Gilbertson’s treatment of main motivic and thematic ideas. While this dissertation is not an exhaustive analysis of the work, it presents a large-scale formal analysis and describes how important themes and motives operate within this organic framework.