Jenni Brandon’s “Shades of Violet” performed by Natalie Groom on October 11, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Little Tavern Park, 7413 Baltimore Ave, College Park, MD 20740-3207, as part of the College Park City-University Partnership Outdoor Performance Series. This weekly outdoor performance series supports the vision of a sustainable, walkable, vibrant top-20 college town. It is a collaboration between the College Park City-University Partnership, the University Office of Community Engagement, College Park Arts Exchange, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the University of Maryland’s School of Music, and the City of College Park.
Natalie Groom is a freelance clarinetist in Washington, D.C. and substitute clarinetist of the Annapolis Symphony and Annapolis Opera. She is the artist-in-residence at Collington Retirement Community, a Junior Board member of Washington Performing Arts, and a volunteer for the Institute for Composer Diversity. This year she performed a joint concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, won a residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and opened for the National Symphony Orchestra.
A teacher, conductor, and academic, she has led the New Horizons clarinet choir and taught Rock and American Popular Music, Business Communications, and clarinet/saxophone lessons for Music for Life, Tucson Summer Music, Music & Arts, and The Gregory School. She has published two event reports in the International Clarinet Association journal.
The title for Shades of Violet came about during a phone call with Jenni and Elizabeth Crawford – clarinet and Katrin Meidell – viola. They were discussing this new work and Elizabeth’s and Katrin’s ensemble’s name “Violet” and the phrase “shades of violet” was mentioned. Jenni loved this phrase and knew it would inspire the work, plus pay homage to this new ensemble’s namesake!
When Jenni started to research the color violet, she found many interesting facts about this color. It is a “true” color in that it has its own set of wavelengths on the spectrum of visible light – between blue and invisible ultraviolet. It also has a lot of other meanings throughout history, encompassing spiritually, emotions of love and passion, and physical manifestations of the color. Jenni wanted to portray these “shades of violet” not just from the color spectrum, but what it has meant to people symbolically. She made a list of what she found when she researched this color, and many of these words or phrases that inspired her during the creation of this work appear as descriptions of sections in the score:
Union of Body and Soul
Mental balance and stability
In some ways this work is a love story – two instruments seeking passion, inspiration, union, unconditional love. We reach this union toward the end of the piece, represented through the higher registers of both instruments– a push and pull of harmonies and shades of violet that Jenni thinks represent the complexities of what the color Violet represents.