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Olsson to premiere ‘Dialogues’ with KSO

February 16, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Former Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Director Milt Olsson will have a hand in the KSO's concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, but not in his usual spot.

The concert's finale will debut Olsson's newest composition, "Dialogues for Orchestra," a three-movement piece the long-time director started writing at the behest of current KSO Director Joel Neves.

"We commissioned Milt a year ago," Neves said. "It's really an encapsulation of the experiences of his life; it has Milt's signature on it."

Olsson's years of experience with the KSO helped him to write the piece, as he was able to write to specific sections' and players' strengths.

"When I composed the piece, I knew who would be playing," Olsson said in a press release.

Because of his knowledge of the KSO, Olsson also was able to give parts to players who may not get to show off their skills as often.

"It's an interesting work; there's a solo for alto flute, a solo for electric guitar," Neves said. "It's challenging but fun because it's personalized. In a normal score the main parts are given to the first players, but (Olsson) gives interesting parts to the second players because he knows the people."

The piece is a modern work with jazzy instrumentation, according to Neves, as "orchestras should be playing music of today." A bass guitar, electric guitar, trap set and even the rarely utilized alto flute are all integrated within the work.

"It's a reflection of who I am and what I have experienced," Olsson said in a release. "The piece is not pop, jazz or rock and roll. It defies a genre but it is cohesive - a reflection of who I am and what I have experienced.

"It is liberating to write orchestral music - a bit like walking on ice when you're not sure of its thickness."

Olsson's piece will close out the evening, which will begin with "William Tell Overture," more commonly known as the theme from "The Lone Ranger," according to Neves.

Tickets are available from or by calling 487-2073.



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