Emmy-winning composer Amos Cochran brings sonic dreamscapes to Van Buren

Emmy-winning composer Amos Cochran brings sonic dreamscapes to Van Buren

Emmy-winning composer Amos Cochran is looking forward to performing in Van Buren. After all, that’s where he lives. The Fort Smith Symphony String Quartet will present a collection of his compositions for the Perspectives Chamber Concert: Sonic Dreamscapes at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at King Opera House. Tickets are $10, available at tickets.fortsmithsymphony.org. He answered these questions for The Free Weekly. (Some answers have been edited for space.)

Q. What are you most excited about for this show in your hometown? Any special guests performing?

A. I’m really excited to perform at the King Opera House. I have been living in Van Buren for quite a long time but have never played in town. For many years I would help with lights or sound at the Opera House. Getting to play there is somewhat of a full circle moment for me, and for it to be a collaboration with the Fort Smith Symphony is a really special happening. I will also be bringing my piano from home, which is a very rare thing. It’s always a joy to play on the instrument that I feel the most comfortable with. Other than the players from the symphony— Er-Gene Kahng, violin; Patrick Conlon, violin; Jesse Collett, viola; Rob Bradshaw, cello — there won’t be any surprise special guests. Unless John Jeter (symphony conductor) decides to make a surprise appearance during the middle of a song. You never know with that fellow!

Q. Tell me about the selections that you have planned for this evening.

There will be two sets of music. The first set will be a collection of my tunes that are selections pulled from my album “Niente,” some film score work, and one newer piece that has only been performed live. Then, after a 15-minute intermission, we will perform all of “A Modern Procedure for Breathing.” This piece was written in 2018 and was really the beginning of all of the work I have been doing since. It’s a 10-movement suite that is a very, very personal musical reflection on the inevitability of change, grief, making sense of things that are out of one’s control, but eventually ending with the idea that no matter what the circumstances are, we can choose to be optimistic. It’s a pretty wild piece that I feel is a very nice mix of piano, strings and electronics. I have played selections of it, but it has never been performed in its entirety with a quartet.

Q. What is your relationship with the Fort Smith Symphony and how does your work relate to the “Perspectives” series? Did you compose any of the music with any members of the FSS?

My relationship goes back to around 2017. A version of the symphony string quartet was playing a Philip Glass piece at The Unexpected opening night party. I was helping with projections at the event and was introduced to John Jeter. As I remember the story, we had on the exact same outfit and spent the entire evening joking around with one another. From then on I could tell he had some very neat and outside-of-the-box ideas for the symphony. We continued to end up at events or discussion panels together, and I believe it was spring of 2018, I created some visual projections for one of their concerts. We have always had a conversation going about doing something musical. In 2020 he put together a group of symphony members to record with me at SŌL Studios. As the conversation continued, the Perspectives series was brought up, and it finally felt like the right fit. The series is all about giving the audience and performers a non-traditional perspective on how “classical” music can be presented. I relate very strongly to this concept as my work has always felt classical in instrumentation but is really closer to electronic music and jazz in how I think of it. None of the music was written with any of the members; however, I have rearranged most of the music for quartet.



Perspectives Chamber Concert:

Sonic Dreamscapes

WHAT — The Fort Smith Symphony String Quartet will perform music by Amos Cochran, an Emmy-winning composer and Van Buren resident.

WHEN — 7 p.m. Feb. 25

WHERE — King Opera House, 427 Main St. in Van Buren

COST — $10

INFO — fortsmithsymphony.org; linktr.ee/amoscochran

Categories: Music