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Under Tennessee Skies: New Works for Tuba (2020)

Synchronous Fireflies: Evan Zegiel

This work, Synchronous Fireflies, is named after the Photinus carolinus species of firefly. It is the only species in the U.S. that can synchronize its flashing, and it is one of 19 or so species which lives in the Smoky Mountains. As if nature could not find any more beautiful ways to decorate our world! I have always found these little flashing bugs to be, simply, magical. I grew up in South Florida, so my experience with bugs was mostly relegated to mosquitoes and gnats until my first summer at Brevard. For a species to coordinate their flashing is even more magical, and I believe there’s a metaphor here. Perhaps we humans should think more about what we can do together in synchronous cooperation. We might discover even greater, more beautiful things to create in our limited time here.

Evan Zegiel holds a Master of Music degree in Performance and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Tuba Performance from the University of Michigan. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow.

Zegiel is a primarily self-taught composer, but has recently studied intensively with David Biedenbender at MSU. This year, his piece for unaccompanied tuba, Climate Strike, won the Tuba category of the 2020 Leonard Falcone International Tuba/Euphonium Festival's Call for Scores. He has received commissions, premieres, and frequent performances of his compositions from performers and ensembles at the New World Symphony, Brevard Music Center, Lancaster Festival (OH), the University of Michigan, Yale University, Northwestern University, the University of Iowa, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Washington State University, and Middle Tennessee State University.

Evan is in demand as an orchestral tubist and chamber musician, performing regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Baltimore Symphony and Erie Philharmonic, among others, and was the Tuba Fellow at the New World Symphony during the 2018-19 season. As a chamber musician, he performs most frequently with his tuba-percussion duo BrassTaps Duo, which has commissioned and arranged over 10 new works in the last four years. Zegiel is also an award-winning tuba soloist, winning seven competitions in the last eight years, including both the Student and Artist Divisions of the Falcone Festival competitions.

© 2020 Chris Combest