The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra concluded its 2011-2012 season on April 29th with a concert mostly of American composers and music that may have been heard during Roosevelt's presidency (1901-1909). Music Director Beverly Everett conducted.
The major work of the first half of the concert comes from the 1930s and was composed for a US government film about the Dust Bowl. Virgil Thomson scored The Plow that Broke the Plains with over 25 minutes of music, largely in an "American" style with folk tunes that would make Aaron Copland more popular than Thomson (Appalachian Spring & Rodeo would come about a decade later). The suite from The Plow that Broke the Plains is one of Thomson's most performed works.
After intermission, the BSO joined historical interpreter and narrator Clay Jenkinson for a recent work by Chris Brubeck (b. 1952). Brubeck composed Roosevelt in Cowboy Land for the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra (North Dakota), where it was premiered in October 2011. Jenkinson's writings on Roosevelt provided the source for much of the text, and tells the story of Theodore Roosevelt's time in the North Dakota Badlands. The program notes for the premiere performance can be found here.