I first met Holly Mulcahy in Chattanooga Tennessee where I was co-producing a film music festival with the Symphony there and she was concert master. We hit it off immediately and I have been a big fan ever since. When she approached me a little over a year ago to compose a concerto for her, but in the style of an epic Western, I knew we were kindred spirits.
I was delighted to discover she loves film scores and , like me, feels that there is a big need to find a way for orchestral concert music to become more relatable to today’s audiences. She is also a big proponent of new music by living composers and since, at the moment anyway, I am one, I couldn’t agree more!
I am primarily a film composer, so it is important to me that the music tell a story. It was going to be a Western, but we wanted it to be about a female heroine as an antidote to all the male dominated Westerns out there. After researching the lives of women of the wild west, we created our own heroine and decided upon a narrative that we called ‘The Rose Of Sonora”. Rather than a concerto in 5 movements, this would be a concerto in five scenes with each scene telling part of Rose’s story.
Although I live in Los Angeles, I get back to my hometown of Chattanooga often to visit family and conduct my film music. It is full circle for me that the world premiere will be performed by the first orchestra I ever heard in the same theater where I heard them when I was 10 years old.
~ George S. Clinton
My first memory of music came from the movies. Whether it was daddy-daughter date night in theaters or sitting at home with my family in Colorado on a snowy Sunday afternoon watching an old western with a big bowl of salted popcorn, the movie soundtracks were my first entry into the world of appreciating music.
I’ve secretly loved Western film music for years, but finally outed myself on Facebook in 2017 when I posted, “If there was an epic western soundtrack style violin concerto, I’d be all over it.”
Posting that made me feel like I was sharing a side of me I wasn’t sure I wanted people to know. But I did it anyway and figured nobody would care or respond. The response surprised me!
The comments started rolling in as people were agreeing, commenting, and echoing my thoughts! I felt maybe there was something to this concept. I contacted Hollywood film composer and friend, George S. Clinton, to see if he had any interest in writing a Western style violin concerto.
George and I spoke by phone several times and we discussed and planned what kind of concerto this should be. We shared our observations of various concertos and concert pieces, and we talked about classical music and today’s audiences and concert atmospheres.
When George shared his idea of a story arc about a wild west outlaw woman compiled from real outlaw women, I knew we had something unique and very much needed. Not only was it a story that captivates, it gave me what was missing from just about every Western movie I’ve watched: A strong female lead.
~ Holly Mulcahy