Friday, June 27, 2008

Jeff Rona's "Songs of the Sea: The Regatta Suite"

Jeff Rona's
Just received the official press release for composer JEFF RONA's current project for the 2008 Olympiad in Beijing China - which beings on 8/8/08. A few weeks ago, I posted our own interview with the composer. You can check that out here. Let's hope for an official release of this work ... and soon.


Acclaimed film composer Jeff Rona has composed “Songs of the Sea: The Regatta Suite” at the invitation of the International Olympics Committee and the City of Qingdao, host of the 2008 Olympics Regatta. The music will be the theme of the Olympic regatta competition.

On July 16, in Qingdao at the Olympic Village, Rona will conduct a 110 piece orchestra, traditional Chinese musicians and one of the country’s top sopranos in the first ever performance of the music. Rona has tapped renown poet David Whyte and singer/songwriter Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance) to create words as part of the concert. Rona will bring the production to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong following the Qingdao world premier.

"For as long as I can remember. I have truly loved the Olympics - the spirit of global friendship and competition. A chance to see the best of the best" says Rona.

"The Olympics are about being a part of the world,” he continued. “The IOC wanted music that had a universal sound, one that conveyed the scope and prestige of the games. Dongxiao Xu, conductor of the Qingdao Symphony and a musical director for the Regatta, was introduced to my film scores quite by accident. He felt that this style was what they wanted the Olympic concert to feel like. I met with him both in Los Angeles and China, along with other musical and cultural directors for the city and the games, who were given the task of commissioning a composer for the concert - and it all went very well."

Rona traveled to the seaside town of Qingdao in January to tour the just completed Olympic Village, meet with the artistic directors, and get a feel for what he might compose. During his stay he walked through small village street markets, sat in a 1000 year old Taoist monastery and looked at the harbor where the races will take place. He visited all the concert venues throughout the city, dined with the local residents, and met with everyone involved in the regatta. He also went to Beijing to see the Olympic facilities, meet with leading Chinese musicians, tour the Great Wall of China. He also traveled to Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta warriors and travel through the country side to the Famen Temple - one of the holiest Buddhist shrines in China. All to get a better sense of a country most westerners know little about outside of politics.

Upon his return to Los Angeles, he began to sketch the 12 pieces that would make up the Regatta Suite. Using the state of the art computer technology he uses for film and television scores, he composed the symphonic pieces in a way that reflected his experiences in China, and brought his own personal sense of music and culture to the Olympics. He returns to China in July to record the Suite before the big tour begins in the 2 weeks leading up to the opening of the games.


Among Rona’s many credits are: Ridley Scott's "White Squall," "The Mothman Prophesies," "Exit Wounds," "The Quiet", “1000 Roads”, and musical contributions to Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," and "Kafka,” "Black Hawk Down," "Mission:Impoossible 2," "Assasins," "Gladiator," "The Net," "Thin Red Line," "The Fan," "Bobby," and a number of documentaries including the multi award-winning "Sharkwater." His television projects include the acclaimed series "Homicide:Life On The Street" with director Barry Levinson, "Chicago Hope" and "Profiler," Steven Spielberg’s first TV project "High Incident," “Traffic,” Robert Altman’s award-winning "Gun" anthology, Frank Darabont’s "Black Cat Run" for HBO, and international auteur Wong Kar Wai's film "The Following" for BMW Films. He has also worked on albums with artists Jon Hassell, Azam Ali, Nyaz, and others.

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