by Benji Schwartz
“Jubilee,” an original piece by Orchestra and Writing & Arranging Teacher Mr. Raymond Wojcik, will be performed by the Westfield Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 1 at the Presbyterian church in Westfield.
The WSO contacted Wojcik at the end of October. “I have known [the WSO Conductor] David Wroe for many years... but this is the first time they will play one of my pieces,” said Wojcik.
The WSO, dubbed “the leading professional freelance orchestra in NJ” by the Star-Ledger, has received the Citation of Excellence from New Jersey State Council on the Arts and is currently recognized by the NJSCA.
“This is a work full of energy and forward momentum. It combines the best of a traditional classical orchestra language with a uniquely American flavor characterized by Mr. Wojcik’s personal style. He is a master orchestrator.... He has cleverly mixed...a complex texture, yet based on the simplest building blocks: a simple melodic step in motion—brilliant!” said Wroe.
“Jubilee” was commissioned in 2004 by the New Jersey Youth Symphony for its twenty-fifth anniversary by former conductor Barbara Barstow. Wojcik said that the piece contains a hidden dedication to Barstow; the work focuses around the notes B-A-B, in reference to her name.
According to Wojcik: “My inspiration for this overture came from the young musicians themselves who possessed a wonderful level of energy, dedication and love of music. I also could not help but notice a ‘love’ of cell phones, video games and chatting when not engrossed in music making.” The different sections of the piece reflect these interests.
Before teaching at WHS, Wojcik was the conductor for the Brunswick Orchestra from 1988 to 1990 and then conducted the Garden State Philharmonic from 1990 to 2000, which, under his leadership, garnered critical acclaim and received awards for its educational program. He continues to conduct for various orchestras, like his recent concert with the South Orange Symphony on Nov. 18.
Many of Wojcik’s compositions have received critical acclaim, like in his CD Akin to Fire, which was raved to have been “a taut muscle of counterpoint, heaving with emotion” by the Star-Ledger. Wojcik’s CDs are available for purchase on his website raymondwojcik.com and on iTunes, as well.
Said Wojcik: “I love being in what I call ‘that creative state,’ when everything else is a nuisance; it’s a particular state of consciousness where you’re just highly attuned to the process. It’s a combination of the intuitive and the technique. It’s very hard work, but everything else is waiting for a bus.”