Composer Nicole Piunno at Home in Dublin for ‘Joyful’ World Premiere of New Work

Oct 13, 2016

Ask composer Dr. Nicole Piunno how she would describe her new work Eternity in an Hour, and one particular word comes up again and again: joy.

“There’s a lot of joy in the piece,” Piunno said in a recent phone interview. “It starts with joy and it ends with joy.”

Eternity in an Hour will receive its world premiere by the Dublin Wind Symphony Sunday, Oct. 16, 3 p.m., at the Marina Davis Performing Arts Center at Dublin Scioto High School, in celebration of the wind symphony’s fifth anniversary. The Dublin Wind Symphony commissioned the new work with financial support from a Dublin Arts Council Community Arts Grant.

The concert’s theme is “Transcendent Journey,” taken from the title of the first work on the program, Rossano Galante’s Transcendent Journey.

“Every piece that you’ll hear will be something about going on a ride,” said Dorianne Deitrick, a flutist with the Dublin Wind Symphony and treasurer of the wind symphony’s parent organization, Dublin Community Bands.

The rest of the concert’s program includes Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, selections from Henry Mancini’s score for the film The Great Race and works by Clare Grundman, Samuel Hazo and Ron Dekker – all inspired by the excitement of the journey.

“We’ve been through a wonderful journey over these five years,” said Jeff Chesser, artistic director of the Dublin Wind Symphony and performing arts chair at Dublin Scioto High School. “Even our first rehearsal, we expected maybe 30 people and 60 showed up, and it’s grown from there.”

For Chesser, the Dublin Wind Symphony’s more than 100 volunteer members and Piunno, Sunday’s concert is a celebration of the progress of their group and Dublin’s rich musical offerings.

“Something I Needed to Honor”

Piunno, a 2003 graduate of Dublin Scioto High School and currently a staff composer for the Dublin Scioto Marching Band, was an obvious candidate to commission for the new work.

“We’re all about creating opportunities for up and coming composers and we’re all about education. And Nicole is also about education, so it was a perfect fit for us to collaborate on this thing,” Chesser said.

Upon receiving the commission Piunno, who says she received an extraordinary musical education in the Dublin City Schools, knew immediately her new work would celebrate two things: the city of Dublin and the power of music.

“The greatest thing I received growing up here was the music education that I received,” Piunno said. “And so I wanted to honor the thing that I think Dublin really offered me and gave me, and that’s music.”

Piunno gained particular inspiration for her new work from William Blake’s poem “Auguries of Innocence,” which begins with the famous lines “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” Piunno said the poem reminded her of the purpose of music.

“What I take that to mean is that through smaller things you can experience larger things. And for me music is the smaller thing that connects us to a greater reality. So for instance, if a person doesn’t feel joyful inside, it can connect a person to joy through music. For some reason, music gets inside of us and that beauty and that joy actually becomes a part of us and it transforms human beings. And this is one of the reasons I think music is so important to creating healthy individuals and healthy human beings, and it’s something I needed to honor.”

“You’re Humming It All Day Long”

In Eternity in an Hour, Piunno puts music’s emotional power on display in bold fanfares, Copland-inspired sounds of the wide open west and the work’s main melody, which stays with you.

“There is a melody that you will hear throughout all three movements that just gets stuck in your head, and you’re humming it all day long,” Deitrick said.

And because Piunno had the opportunity to learn music by making music during her time in the Dublin City Schools, she says the interactions of the instruments in Eternity in an Hour also honor the act of music making.

“I didn’t just want to honor music, I wanted to honor music making as well,” Piunno said. And so I put a lot of interaction between the instruments.”

The rest of the concert’s program highlights the thrill of journeying in exciting music for and inspired by the silver screen, excerpted from opera’s most thrilling moments and composed specifically to take listeners on fast and sometimes wild rides.

And you can’t beat the price.

“Even though the concert is free, I believe it’s worth paying for,” Chesser said. “We have a quality program.”

The Dublin Wind Symphony’s Fifth Anniversary Concert Transcendent journeys takes place Oct. 16, 3 p.m., in the Marina Davis Performing Arts Center at Dublin Scioto High School. A reception with Nicole Piunno and the Wind Symphony musicians will follow. Admission is free.