Composer Tsontakis speaks for the record

George Tsontakis
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is recording music by composer George Tsontakis for its next CD release.
MPR Photo/Karl Gehrke

On this weekend's concerts, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is performing new music with an old, familiar title. "Clair de lune" is the latest composition by George Tsontakis. The American composer uses the name of a famous piece Claude Debussy wrote in about 1890 to express his own impressions.

Tsontakis says he's pleased that his music is being played in concert, but he often feels like the token modern composer amid Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Tsontakis says he's much more interested in having his music recorded.

Along with its premiere peformances of "Clair de lune," the SPCO is also recording the work and another Tsontakis composition, "The Past, the Passion for 14 Players." The SPCO will add these pieces to its earlier recording of Tsontakis's Violin Concerto for a CD expected to be released later this year.

Tsontakis recently received a prestigious award called the Charles Ives Living, which will give him three years to concentrate on composing. However, in a conversation with Minnesota Public Radio's Karl Gehrke, Tsontakis says that composing is not his main interest. Sometimes he'd rather be acting.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.