The world premiere of “We Fall…We Rise,” a commissioned work by award-winning composer Javier Arau, ‘98, will be performed Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. in Harper Hall as part of the second annual Lawrence University saxophone studio and alumni recital.
Arau’s work as a performer, composer and arranger has been recognized four times by Down Beat magazine. He earned back-to-back “DBs” in 1996 and 1997 as a student at Lawrence for solo performance (tenor saxophone) and original composition, respectively, and earned two more Down Beat awards as a graduate student at the New England Conservatory, where he earned a master’s degree in composition after graduating from Lawrence.
“We Fall…We Rise” is the product of a commission specifically for this recital that Lawrence saxophone alumni offered Arau, who will make the trip from his current home in New York City to attend Saturday’s recital. The composition will be performed by an 15-member ensemble of alumni and current students.
Arau, who moved to New York exactly 10 days before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, says “We Fall…We Rise” is not a tribute to or partisan political statement about “9/11,” but more an expression of a common goal for an end to so much turmoil in the world. On a more personal level, it also represents his own struggle as a young musician trying to carve out his own niche in a city that is both exhilarating and rewarding as well as enormously challenging and unforgiving.
Since 2001, Arau has established himself as a sought-after composer, arranger, saxophonist and music teacher. He performs regularly with various bands at several of Manhattan’s top jazz clubs, his commissions have been performed around the world and his compositional output has expanded to include musical theater and feature films. In 2002, Arau was awarded ASCAP’s first annual Young Jazz Composer Award and two years later he was named a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop.
In addition to “We Fall…We Rise,” more than 30 alumni and current saxophonists will be joined by a three-member percussion ensemble and a pianist in a multi-media presentation of Louis Andriessen’s “Workers Union.” Alumni and current students also will also perform works by Philip Glass, Michael Torke, and current LU senior Jacob Teichroew.