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ECHO - SYSTEM Oratorio for Wind Ensemble by THÉO SCHMITT (Switzerland, 1991)

[#205] June 26, 2023

2023 | Wind Ensemble | Grade 5 | 10'-15' | Oratorio – tone poem

Swiss composer and arranger Théo Schmitt

Echo-System, by Swiss composer, conductor and arranger Théo Schmitt is our Composition of the Week.

Echo-System was commissioned by the Swiss section of WASBE, and has received its premiere performances on April 14 and 16, 2023, at the Casino de Montbenon, Lausanne, Switzerland, by the Micro-Harmonie, with Stéphane Pecorini conducting.

Schmitt uses the word oratorio as a subtitle for his work. It has a duration of 13 minutes and it is scored for five homogeneous groups of 6 woodwind and brass players, as well as a group of „percussive“ instruments that include piano, harp, timpani, glockenspiel, vibraphone and marimba.

“Echo-System is a sonic experience and a hymn to nature, as its title implied. The instrumentalists mimic the birth and the evolution of an ecosystem. Short motives emerge and trigger organic patterns, echoing around the audience by different groups of musicians. Independent lines move along until reaching a point of synchronization where a sensation of balance is found. Quickly, a disturbing element (humans…) appears, breaks this balance and destroys the entire ecosystem. Then, the slow movement describes the emptiness of this extinguished world. At the end, however, the short motifs come back and a new ecosystem starts to birth, honoring the incredible nature’s faculty to rebirth, to respread life, no matter what.“ Program Notes by Théo Schmitt

Théo Schmitt is a young musician from Switzerland currently working as a composer and a conductor in Los Angeles. After obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Music Education, Théo continued his studies at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne (HEMU) and, in 2018, obtained a Master's degree in Orchestral Conducting under the mentorship of Aurélien Azan-Zielinski. Upon graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Fritz Bach Prize for the best Master's thesis and highest grade of the final exam. From 2019 to 2021, he studied composition with Richard Danielpour, Ian Krouse, and Peter Golub at the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2022, he graduated from the very selective program of Screen Scoring at the University of Southern California (USC).

During his early career in Switzerland, Théo conducted many orchestras, including the Brass Band L'Avenir d'Aclens, the Wind Band La Jeune Garde de la Landwehr de Fribourg, and the Symphony Orchestra L'Orchestre QuiPasseParLà. On September 7 2019, Théo won the 9th Swiss National Conducting Competition in Baden.

He is frequently hired as a guest conductor in Switzerland (with the Conservatory of Lausanne for instance) and in Los Angeles (with the USC Graduate Brass Ensemble and others). He also works as a studio conductor in recording sessions for films, video games and TV series.

Théo has already written several original compositions for Brass Band, Wind Band and Symphonic Orchestra. Notably, in 2015, the Mélodia Brass Ensemble performed his first symphony, and in 2016, the Lausanne Conservatory Wind Ensemble commissioned him with a film in concert, Le Trésor du Léman. In 2018, he wrote, directed, scored, and conducted a film in concert, La Légende du Château du Chillon. The Micro-Harmonie commissioned him a Passion of Christ for concert band, soloists and female choir. They premiered it at the Cathedral of Lausanne the 22nd of April 2022. During the whole summer of the same year, The Fine Arts Museum of Lausanne featured his piece Voyages Imaginaires for trumpet solo and unsynchronized tapes for its opening exhibition. His other concert works include commissions by the Music Society of the State of Vaud (SCMV), the Swiss Music Association (ASM) and the World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensemble (WASBE).

Since establishing himself in Los Angeles, Théo has collaborated with many filmmakers and choreographers on a number of projects. In 2021, I was nominated at the Marvin Hamlisch International Music Awards.

View the score here


Other works for winds include:

  • Le trésor du Léman (2016) Film in Concert

  • Reflections of dreams (2018)

  • Echoes of my mind (2019)

  • Particles Dances (2019)

  • An Eternal Journey (2021)

  • La Passion, oratorio for wind ensemble (2022)

More on Théo Schmitt


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