Robert Deemer

Mannahatta Windows (2009)

Robert Deemer wrote about Mannahatta Windows:

“In his article “Mannahatta: An Ecological First Look at the Manhattan Landscape Prior to Henry Hudson”, Eric Sanderson provided ratios of how much of the island contained human habitation in 1604 (0.1%), in 1798 (16%) and in 2004 (97%). Through a commission by the Quintet of the Americas in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the island of Manhattan, Mannahatta Windows was my attempt at exploring the vast discrepancy between the idea of what the island once was in its pristine state and what it has become over the past four centuries. The work is constructed in a series of vignettes with three primary melodic ideas running through the work: a plaintive chant that represents the time when a handful of Lenne Lenape tribes would use the island for hunting and agriculture; a motoristic angular line that reflects the constant work concept that generates both the positive and negative aspects of the city as it exists today; and a jazz-influenced idea in the middle that presents the playful side of the city, the opposite to the work ideal in the second melody. This was my first time writing for woodwind quintet, and while being a huge challenge it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to experiment and work within the limitations of the instruments. Funding for Mannahatta Windows was provided by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Performance by Quintet of the Americas:

Recipient of the 2018 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Internet Award, Rob Deemer is a composer, conductor, educator, author, and advocate. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the President’s Own Marine Band, the U.S. Army Orchestra, the wind ensembles at the University of Texas and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the Rasçher Saxophone Quartet, loadbang, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Gaudete Brass, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, violinists Holly Mulcahy and Cornelius Dufallo, soprano Tony Arnold, flutist Lindsay Goodman, and saxophonist Zach Shemon. His work as an advocate for underrepresented composers led him to create the Institute for Composer Diversity. In addition to his work in concert music, Rob has extensive experience as a composer for film, theatre and dance As an author, Deemer has become well known for his writings for NewMusicBox, Sequenza21, and the New York Times. He is co-author of Music in Sound Film, An Introduction with noted film scholars David Neumeyer and James Buhler. Deemer is a Professor and the Head of Composition at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

For more information about Rob visit his website