‘Blue Rhapsody’ premieres at Tabor Academy with Tri-County Symphonic Band

Oct 24, 2023

MARION — In the span of two days Cape Cod composer Michael Donovan’s music was played by bands from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast. 

On Saturday, Oct. 21 an orchestra on the West Coast played Donovan’s piece “Fifty Fanfares” and on Sunday, Oct. 22, Donovan’s composition “Blue Rhapsody” was premiered at Tabor Academy’s Fireman Performing Arts Center by the Tri-County Symphonic Band and pianist Susan Saposnik. 

“Everything leads up to those 11 minutes … I don’t listen to it like I wrote it, I listen like I’m a music lover and it’s great,” said Donovan following the premiere. “I think people liked it a lot … if we had the [concert] at night after a few drinks … we’d get a little more [reaction].”

“Blue Rhapsody,” which was inspired by George Gershwin’s 1924 piece “Rhapsody in Blue,” was played alongside Donovan’s “Fifty Fanfares” and pieces written by composers Eric Whitacre, Kelly Bennette, Henry Fillmore, Michael Sweeney, Leroy Anderson, Samuel Hazo and Frank Ticheli.

For weeks, the group had been rehearsing “Blue Rhapsody” along with the other selections played during the concert.

“It should have the feel of America and American music,” said Saposnik. “It has the jazz in there [and] the gospel in there … the African American roots, the blues.”

“This is American music in the 20th century style,” said Donovan. “It has new ideas but still the same style.”

“Blue Rhapsody” was the fourth piece written by Donovan played by the Tri-County Symphonic Band.

“This is a wonderful band and a wonderful organization,” said Saposnik following the performance. “It would not have sounded half as good without them. It's an honor to play Mike’s piece, to premier a piece, and to premier it with this group.”