"Invès" by Yahn Wagner de Mello Pinto and "Vicious Circles" by Scott Lee were created especially for the orchestra. The rehearsal capped a year-long engagement between the Duke University Department of Music and the North Carolina Symphony, including symposia, concerts, visiting composers and conductors, and courses devoted to the large ensemble and its repertoire. The program was made possible in part by a gift from alumna Penka Kouneva (Ph.D. 1997).
“Penka’s gift was originally imagined to honor my 60th birthday," says Stephen Jaffe, who was Kouneva's advisor in the graduate composition program. "It evolved into an incredible opportunity for the entire department to engage with the field. I couldn’t think of a more generous gift to the field. Orchestral composition is an art that is learned—it doesn’t just derive from 'talent'-- and yet opportunities to engage with wonderful ensembles such as the North Carolina Symphony are very hard for an aspiring composer to come by. There are a few programs across the country where orchestras will read pieces, but it is very rare indeed that the orchestra’s musicians and music director are so fully involved. This was among the best opportunities any young composer could hope for."