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Richmond Symphony Presents: Composer Residency with John B Hedges

Strengthening musical relationships in our Richmond communities through emerging American music: Prayers of Rain and Wind


The Richmond Symphony hosted a week-long residency with visiting composer John B Hedges during the week of February 12-17, 2013. This exciting residency allowed us to introduce John B to the greater Richmond community creating deeper relationships between the orchestra and our community through the performance and promotion of living American music.

Residency activities took place around the RSO performance and Virginia premiere of his piece Prayers of Rain and Winda concerto for double bass, written for guest artist Joseph Conyers.

The residency offered a multifaceted approach on many levels by engaging and educating our community on new orchestral music with an emerging contemporary composer.


Audience engagement

  • Open rehearsals including question and answer sessions with the composer and guest artist.
  • Pre- and post-concert discussions with the composer, guest artist and Maestro Freeman.
  • A video interview with the composer and guest artist discussing elements of the composition providing points for listening.

Community Engagement

  • The Genealogy of a Concerto: A lecture demonstration for the St. Paul’s Baptist Church congregation on the creation of the work and the piece’s influences (especially Gospel lined hymn singing found particularly in the 2nd movement of the work).
  • Inspiration and the Creative Process: a mini-lecture and informal performance by the composer and guest artist as part of our Masterworks Series hosted by Altria.


  • Masterclasses: the composer worked with composition students from local universities who shared their work for feedback in a group session.
  • Open rehearsals: students were invited to sit alongside the composer during the open rehearsals of the work getting a valuable inside look at composer/orchestral collaboration.
  • Rehearsals:  the composer worked with members of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Chorus performing on the concerto.
  • Clinics and Coaching: the composer and guest artist worked with the RSO Youth Orchestra Program (including other bass students and some adult players) discussing promoting and creating new repertoire for the instrument and pushing the boundaries for the bass as a solo instrument, suggestions for how to listen to new work, and understanding the different characteristics of music (register, dynamics, color, dissonance/consonance, etc.).


Project Media

Inside Look at Prayers of Rain and Wind
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Here’s an inside look at “Prayers of Rain and Wind” from guest composer John B Hedges and guest artist Joseph Conyers. Hear the live performance during the Mozart’s Requiem concert on Saturday, Feb 16 – 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 17 at 3 p.m. at the Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage.

Three Pieces for Orchestra: 2. Crying Girl
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Features: John B Hedges

Three Pieces for Orchestra was written in 2001. The three pieces are: 1. Games, 2. Crying Girl, and 3. Awakening.

Start and End Dates



Richmond, Virginia

Project Created By

Richmond, Virginia
The Richmond Symphony was founded in 1957 by a small, dedicated group of music-lovers, giving its debut on 28th October, 1957 under Edgar Schenkman, Music Director from 1957-1971. Subsequent Music Directors have been Jacques Houtmann (1971-1987), George Manahan (1987-1999), Mark Russell Smith (1999-2009) and Steven Smith (2010-present). The Symphony performed only three concerts in its…

In Collaboration With

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Guest Artist, Soloist
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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