Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) is a composer and teacher at the Juilliard School in New York City, where he has been on the faculty since 1980. He studied at Juilliard and the Eastman School of Music with Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, Joseph Schwantner, Gunther Schuller, and Warren Benson. His works, which have won him many awards, have been performed and recorded by prestigious ensembles and artists all over the world.
Celtic Hymns and Dances was one of the very first pieces I conducted with the Columbia Wind Ensemble, and for that reason it holds a special place in my heart. It is an entirely original work, not based on any specific Celtic folk tunes, but rather on a generally Celtic feel. Says Ewazen in the score:
Celtic Hymns and Dances was commissioned by and is dedicated to James Fudale and the Berea (Ohio) High School Symphonic Winds who premiered the work in March 1990. The one movement work draws its inspiration from medieval and renaissance music. Although the melodies and themes are original creations, the modal harmony, the characteristically energetic rhythms and the use of colorful wind orchestration calls to mind music of ancient times. Within the piece one finds pastoral ballads, heroic fanfares and joyful dances culminating in a lively sonorous finale.
The recording that Ewazen’s publisher uses to promote the piece:
Eric Ewazen has a Wikipedia page and his own web site. He is also featured in interviews with the Juilliard Journal and Bruce Duffie, and on the Luncheon Project. There is a great entry on Celtic Hymns and Dances on the Wind Repertory Project. It also features prominently in this extensive paper by Darren Brooks (scroll down to page 63 for the Celtic Hymns section).