Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote music completely in his head, or so the story goes. Turns out, that’s mostly the stuff of legend. What is known, though, is contemporary composer Quinn Mason — a 25-year-old African American musician from Dallas, Texas — does on occasion write music without the aid of an instrument.
Mason’s piece “Princesa de la Luna” premieres in a virtual performance from the Oregon Mozart Players on May 15, part of Courage, a concert saluting youthful and diverse contributions to the classical music canon. It’s only the second performance of the work from the much-lauded composer anywhere in the world.
When Oregon Mozart Players artistic director and conductor Kelly Kuo was planning the program, he sought a piece that not only fit the theme of young voices in classical music, but was also appropriate for the ensemble size and kind of instrumentation the players were allowed to assemble on account of the pandemic.
Mason was a perfect fit.
“It’s more of a musical description or depiction of this princess,” Kuo says. “There’s a lot of suspension and floating: It’s gorgeous, it’s melodic, but at the same time, you have a lot of different textures.”
Also on the program is Johann Baptist Vanhal’s Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra with Maggie Carter on double bass; and Ian Song, performing “Winter” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” on violin. The two teenagers, both from Portland, were winners at last year’s Oregon Mozart Players Young Soloist Competition.
Rounding out the show is the Divertimento in F Major, K. 138, from the original classical young gun himself, Mozart, with Daniel Cho guest conducting.
Courage from the Oregon Mozart Players premieres online 7:30 pm Saturday, May 15; $5 minimum donation. For more information about how to watch go to OregonMozartPlayers.org.