the beaten path...
the Eos Orchestra
the music of
in the final celebration of the the great American composer's
100th birthday anniversary.
It is not surprising that Jonathan Sheffer, Founder-Artistic
Director-Conductor of the Eos Orchestra, has a special affinity
for Aaron Copland. Like Copland before him, Sheffer is a prolific
composer of music for theater and film. In fact, his conducting
career emerged from his composition of scores for Hollywood
films (e.g., Pure Luck, Darkman, Omen IV,
Bloodhounds of Broadway, In a Shallow Grave),
for TV (e.g., Andre's Mother) and musical theater
(e.g. the musicals Ladies in Waiting and Going
Hollywood, and the operas Camera Obscura and The
Mistake). His latest opera, Blood on the Dining Room Floor,
with text by Gertrude Stein, ran off-Broadway in June 2000.
It received the Richard Rogers Production Award from the American
Academy of Arts and Letters and was given a reading as part
of the New York City Opera's "Showcasing American Composers
Mr. Sheffer has also conducted the recording of scores for several
of Hollywood's biggest films, including Michael Collins,
Batman Forever, Interview With the Vampire, Alien
3, A Time To Kill, Heat, Batman and Robin,
and Sphere. He most recently conducted the recording
of the score for the Julie Taymor film, Titus.
His other orchestral compositions include a ballet (which he
also conducted) for a benefit at Lincoln Center (October 1993);
a Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra, which
premiered in Stockholm in November 1996, with the Swedish Radio
Symphony Orchestra; and Six Piano Pieces, written in
1996, which was choreographed by Robert LaFosse and presented
for the New York City Ballet Guild. His orchestration of Francis
Poulenc's Appolinaire Songs was performed at the Poulenc
Centenary Celebration at the 92nd Street Y in October 1999.
After conducting three film score recordings with the Seattle
Symphony, he made his conducting debut on the concert stage
with the San Diego Symphony in 1991. Then in 1992, he served
as assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas at the London Symphony
Orchestra and L'Orchestre National de France. He has since conducted
other prominent orchestras in the US and Europe.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Sheffer graduated from Harvard University
where he studied with Leonard Bernstein and Leon Kirchner. He
also attended the Juilliard School and the Aspen School of Music.
A different kind of orchestra
With its non-traditional concerts that bring to life neglected
(but important) works by important (and sometime neglected)
composers, it did not take long for the Eos Orchestra to become
a force in American music. The orchestra presents an annual
subscription season at the Society for Ethical Culture Auditorium
in New York City. Now in its fifth season under the artistic
direction of Jonathan Sheffer, the orchestra gave its first
concerts in 1995 performing The Music of Paul Bowles
at a 3-day festival at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. In
1998, the orchestra returned to the Lincoln Center Festival
in a program called Literally Bernstein. It has also
performed t the 92nd Street Y, the Guggenheim Museum, and the
White House at the presentation ceremony for the National Medal
of Arts and Humanities.
Eos has released four CDs, the latest "Celluloid Copland"
(released in 2001) featuring heretofore unrecorded music of
Aaron Copland. Eos has also been heard twice on National Public
Radio's Performance Today as well as on European public
radio. This Aaron Copland celebratory program marks the orchestra's
second TV appearance; the first was on the Arts & Entertainment
Network (A&E) in a biography of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Eos is also unique in its interest in music education. It has
published four books of essays and images on musical topics
and in 1999 received the Japan Music Award for its education
- GC/ FanFaire 2001
Photo credit: Joe Sinnott, courtesy Thirteen/WNET,