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Concerto for Cello and Symphony Orchestra by Aaron Minsky


Dylan wrote the song, "When I Paint My Masterpiece". I used to listen to it and wonder if I would ever compose a "masterpiece". If a masterpiece is a grand creation that sums up one's artistic vision while pointing to new directions, I think I may have finally "painted" my masterpiece... (hopefully, my first masterpiece). 


From the back cover:

A heroic concerto for cello and full symphony orchestra. It was composed

during Hurricane Sandy, and loosely based on the life of Genghis Khan. A classic

concerto in form, it employs the pentatonic scale, and an instrumental version of

Mongolian throat singing. It also includes "celtar" and a rock inspired intensity.

(An arrangement for cello and piano is also available.)

The introduction goes into more detail:

Throughout this concerto extremes of high and low are explored, symbolic of the extremes of 

Genghis' vision. It is called the conqueror because: 1. the hurricane that howled during its composition conquered everything in sight, 2. Genghis conquered and united the tribes, and, 3. the concerto itself conquers the divide between classical and popular music. It is a classic concerto in form, yet it is based 

on the pentatonic scale, a staple of Mongolian popular music. I pray this, my first concerto, will conquer all barriers to acceptance into our extraordinary cello repertoire. I put everything I had into it. The rest is up to you!


Concertos are often referred to as "the" and the composer's last name, as in "the Dvoråk". Perhaps one day they will talk about, "the Minsky". It has all the elements that I have come to love in great concertos of the past such as beautiful melodies, virtuosic fireworks, and innovative techniques. It also has a full orchestration, including all of the usual suspects plus other cool instruments such as the harp, the piccolo, the bass clarinet, the contra bassoon, the BBb tuba, and three types of gongs! It creates wonderful images and has a compelling underlying storyline which separates it from the vehicle for technical flash that are many concertos. Though its vocabulary is based on popular musical ideas, it is a concerto in every sense, even down to the striking cadenza toward the end of the first movement. It takes one on a ride from foreboding and dread to triumph and hope. The introduction concludes, "As the gongs ring out we are left with a feeling of inspiration and hope that there will finally come a day when ignorance and hate will be conquered forever!" 

I wrote a concerto that I would love to perform and listen to. I performed the local premiere with the 
Staten Island Philharmonic. You can see a video of the performance here:
You can watch a very in depth interview about the concerto here:
This video is especially recommended to anyone who is thinking about performing the concerto or would like an in depth look at my composing process in general. 


Those of you who read the last newsletter heard about the passing of my father and our special closeness. The dedication on the title page of the concerto reads as follows:

In memory of my father, Harold Minsky. 
He conquered many hearts with his gentle, insightful manner. 
And together we pursued our mutual dream of musical success.

Screen shot .3 If you are a cellist or a conductor I hope by now you are dying to get your hands on this music! You can purchase the concerto in two ways - with the full score and orchestration or in an arrangement for piano and cello. It is for sale at J.W. Pepper, where there are also links to the video, the audio, and some sample pages. For a limited time it is for sale at a low introductory price (less than half the price of other major concertos)! 


It is so important to me to see this concerto performed that I will help anyone who can perform it. If you send proof that you have an engagement to perform The Conqueror with orchestra I will send you a free copy of the score and orchestral parts! I will also make every effort to come to the performance. So PLEASE take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to premiere a new concerto and have the composer in the audience! You can contact me by replying to this email. 

This offer applies to professional soloists as well as students who can perform it with their college orchestra or community orchestra. And if you are not a cellist, pass this newsletter on to your cellist friends!  

At St. Petersburg College in Florida, cellist, Theresa Villani, will perform my "Laid Back Devil" with dance accompaniment:

Rebecca Welham will keep the Minsky fires burning in England this coming June:

Not to be outdone, the Utah Viola Society programed my Three American Pieces::

And in Sydney, a violist plays "Like Crazy" for her orchestra audition, starting at minute 4:25:

On the Sunshine Coast of Australia, Louise King will be performing my cello music this coming June:

And my favorite link this month comes from New Zealand where cellist, Margaret McConachie named "Aaron Minsky" as the artist from history with whom she would most like to collaborate! 

Don't forget the Von Cello Store to purchase wonderful gifts for the musician in your life. Or just treat yourself this holiday season! 

It was one of the musical highlights of my life to perform my own concerto with the Staten Island Philharmonic. There are many people who helped make this possible, and no one more important than my mother, Pearl Minsky, who first contacted the orchestra. I thank Carolyn Clark, the executive director and french hornist for the orchestra, and Maestro Alejandro Guzman, who not only conducted  the performance but came to visit me for a very insightful discussion on the score. I thank Lisa Ratner, Karen Minsky, and David Vinick for their work on the video that so excellently captured the performance. And finally, I must give thanks to God that my father was able to attend the concert. I am so grateful that he was able to witness his son performing as soloist and composer. Now we need others to perform The Conqueror in the United States and around the world.

I put everything I had into it. The rest is up to you! 

YES, YOU!     

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