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Arts & Life

South Dakota Symphony Orchestra praised in national magazine

South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra mid-performance.

The interview posted above is from SDPB’s daily public affairs show, In the Moment, with Lori Walsh.

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra reached national audiences after an esteemed music critic featured the ensemble in The New Yorker.

Alex Ross wrote an article about the orchestra in the magazine’s May 23 issue. He visited Sioux Falls on April 30 to listen to SDSO’s Centennial Finale concert, where it premiered a new work by composer John Luther Adams.

“[Ross is] the most respected classical music writer in the country today. He’s been following John Luther Adams’ career for a couple of decades now,” said Delta David Gier, the orchestra's music director.

“An Atlas of Deep Time” is Adams’ latest work in a series of pieces inspired by elemental landscapes. It was written specifically for SDSO’s centennial concert.

“The formal structure is modelled on the basin-and-range topography of western North America, with its relentless alternation of mountain uplift and desert flats,” Ross said of the piece in his article.

Gier calls the work “a surround sound” experience. Different sections of the orchestra are spread out throughout the performance space to surround the audience with music.

In addition to describing the new work, Ross praised SDSO’s engagement and skill, especially considering its size and budget compared to other orchestras.

“The program would have tested any top-ranked orchestra,” Ross said. “Furthermore, I’ve experienced very few concerts at which a classical-music organization seemed so integral to its community.”

Gier says this integration with the Sioux Falls community is what puts SDSO on the map.

“Everybody across the country, from the New York Philharmonic to the San Francisco Symphony, knows what the South Dakota Symphony has been doing,” he said.

He also hopes this acknowledgement will bring more attention to artists’ efforts in South Dakota.

“We are known for large public works of art: Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Dignity,” Gier said. “People outside of the state know us as an artistic state. Let’s embrace that on every level and support it.”