Cleveland Chamber Symphony
Steven Smith, cond


    Drawing on melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic materials from an old dance tune performed on a field recording by Fred Cocherham (“Pretty Little Miss,” Lowgap, North Carolina), Clawhammer takes the listener on an exciting and energetic journey from beginning to end. Constructed in four freely-interchanged parts, the folk tune exhibits a model of old-time banjo playing.    SEE PROGRAM NOTES




Ah! Ha! San Antone commemorates “western swing” steel guitarists who performed in the popular, western-swing bands such as Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, and Hank Penny in the 1940s.   The title is taken from a “call” by Bob Wills on his recording of San Antonio Rose (recorded 4-15-46).   The performers are Leon McAuliffe (famous for Steel Guitar Rag), Noel Boggs, and Speedy West.  As a steel guitarist in his youthful years, the composer considered these musicians as heroes.    (SEE PROGRAM NOTES)

Gerald Plain


 This work is dedicated to my mother, Hazel Salmon Plain.  In her family the word Ol’ (Old) had little to do with the age of a thing.  It was placed before a name to imply attachment, affection, and something that was familiar.  As time passed, the object became an endearment to the history of the family.

This suite of four movements is based on the composer’s childhood memories, two at his grandfather Salmon’s farm in Daviess County, KY (located near the intersection of County 140 and Maxwell - Red Hill Road).   SEE PROGRAM NOTES


 The Harvard Dictionary of Music describes the Tarantella as “a Neapolitan dance in rapid 6/8 meter, probably named for Taranto in southern Italy, or, according to popular legend, for the tarantula spider whose poisonous bite the dance was believed to cure.”

Tarantella is dedicated to the memory of Ruth T. Watanabe, head of the Sibley Library of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music for thirty-seven years.  She was a special friend of the composer’s deceased wife, Marilyn.




“amaZing” is my newest orchestral composition, an artistic presentation (not an arrangement) of the popular hymn tune, “Amazing Grace.”   The first portion of this composition was originally presented as ghostly fragments in my orchestra work, “and left ol’ Joe a bone, AMAZING!.”   The entire tune is now represented with a focus on preserving the intensity that is in the original hymn.    It would be a perfect beginning to an orchestra concert, a slow and intense fanfare.        October 2016,     Gerald Plain

Phil Rehfeldt, Clarinet
G. Plain
G. Plain







I have been using folk materials in my compositions since 1969 and my objective has always been to artfully fuse these elements into a modern sound fabric.

My Performance Conductors:

Gianluigi Gelmetti, Massimo Pradella, Oleg Kovalenko, Gerhard Samuel, Lukas Foss, Lawrence Foster, Michael Morgan, Kenneth Jean, Paul Polivnick, Gunther Schuller, Steven Smith, Sydney Hodkinson, Stewart Robertson, Andrew Davis, Edwin London, John McL. Williams


Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Louisville Orchestra,  Vermont Symphony Orchestra,  Richmond (VA) Symphony,  Atlantic Classical Orchestra,  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,  Long Beach Symphony,  Civic Orchestra of Chicago,  Alabama Symphony Orchestra,  Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,  Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra,  Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Radiotelevisione Italiana Orchestra of Rome, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo.