Hardware powers John Gibson’s new work for the Dallas Wind Symphony

John Gibson's 'Santiago Calatravatar'An SMU staff member who doubles as a prolific composer has created a paean to power tools honoring one of Dallas’ most dedicated sponsors of the arts.

John Gibson will narrate the premiere of his latest work, Man Dreams in Hardware, during the Dallas Wind Symphony‘s REDSHIFT program at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, 2011, in the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Gibson, senior writer and producer in the SMU Office of Public Affairs, first came up with the concept for the work several years ago as a way to honor longtime DWS sponsor Elliott’s Hardware. “Since this is the Dallas Wind Symphony’s 25th anniversary year, it seemed to be the right time to do it,” he says. He has spent a year bringing the project to fruition.

Powering the performance are several new instruments Gibson invented from actual merchandise found in an Elliott’s Hardware store. He built the instruments exclusively for this work and to be played by DWS members.

“There are a total of 18 performers and 26 instruments, if you include Henrietta, the rubber chicken,” Gibson says.

“Twelve of the performers are percussionists, and since the majority of the instruments are percussive in nature, the players adapted very easily to working with them and even developing new sounds.”

Gibson’s collaboration with the DWS began 23 years ago, when the ensemble was based at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. (Conductor Howard Dunn also directed the Meadows Wind Ensemble, and the group performed many of its early concerts in Caruth Auditorium.) He soon became resident composer, writing pieces for performance and judging composition contests.

With his latest work, Gibson says, “I have been ‘elevated’ to the position of Artist in Residence – the compensation for which is having fun. Which ain’t bad.”

> Buy Dallas Wind Symphony REDSHIFT tickets online

(Above, a Dallas Wind Symphony member rehearses on the Santiago Calatravatar – one of the instruments John Gibson invented and built for his latest work, Man Dreams in Hardware. Photo courtesy of John Gibson.)

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