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Crossroads Ogden, World Premiere at Ogden’s Historic Peery’s Egyptian Theater - November 2, 2019, 7:00 PM

Crossroads Ogden – Program Description & Words About the Composer 

Crossroads Ogden, World Premiere November 2, 2019, 7:00 PM

at Ogden’s Historic Peery’s Egyptian Theater

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Crossroads Ogden is an historic event for OFOAM and for Ogden at the culmination of a year-long calendar of events marking the sesquicentennial of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. OFOAM commissioned noted modern American composer, Jens Kruger, to compose an original work about Ogden’s history as a railroad town as part of the Spike 150 Celebration. Kruger has composed many works for The Kruger Brothers with string quartet, chamber orchestra or symphony, four of which were written to evoke a specific sense of place (Roan Mountain Suite, 2017; Lucid Dreamer, 2015- commissioned by Chamber Music America; Spirit of the Rockies, 2013 -commissioned by The Banff Center; and Appalachian Concerto, 2010) and Crossroads Ogden will be no exception. This work will bring artists together in creative and collaborative ways, providing Ogden and Weber County with a new and innovative work evoking the rich culture and history of Ogden. OFOAM is partnering with Chamber Orchestra Ogden, conducted by Michael Palumbo and Imagine Ballet Theatre, with original choreography by Raymond Van Mason, for this groundbreaking world premiere event. At the completion, Ogden will have a symphonic piece that is its own.

Notes from the composer: Jens describes reflecting on the history of Ogden relating to the first trappers, settlers, Mormons and the railroad. The excitement of new beginnings and the challenges of later economic downturn are revealed throughout the piece culminating with the current revitalization of Ogden. This story characterizes Ogden as pragmatic - down to earth, at times even hard-headed. It was the collective American dream that melded diverse cultures into the town for which Ogden stands today.

I am honored to write a piece to mark this special occasion – to contribute this piece showing the richness of American history.  The ghosts and spirits of Ogden entertain me.”

Jens has a focus on Ogden’s unique western heritage as the true Crossroads of the West.

About the Composer – Jens Kruger

Composing the music for all of the Kruger Brothers’ original tunes, Jens began his “official” venture into the themes and forms of classical music when he was commissioned in 2006 to write Music from the Spring for banjo, guitar, bass and full symphonic orchestra. Since then, he has received four commissions to write classical pieces which The Kruger Brothers have performed with various orchestral ensembles: Appalachian Concerto with string quartet; Spirit of the Rockies with a small orchestra; Lucid Dreamer, a chamber music piece written specifically for and commissioned by the Kontras Quartet which debuted in 2014; and most recently, Roan Mountain Suite, which honors the region and legacy of the Roan Mountain Massif on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

Jens was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in 2011 and two years later, was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. He has received multiple IBMA Banjo Player of the Year nominations. While Jens plays in a melodic style that has roots in bluegrass, his music is distinguished by long, melodic passages and a complex compositional foundation, often building on jazz or classical themes and techniques.

 "Jens is one of the top players in the country, or anywhere in the world. I would like to learn everything that Jens knows. Jens has a special beauty when he plays; he is able to pull a certain elegance out of the banjo, and that I really admire"  ---Steve Martin