Tell us a little about Hannibal and your work with him so far on this piece.
One Land, One River, One People: First, I think this is an extraordinary title. I think it sums up who Hannibal is as a person. He embraces the whole world, and when one meets him you feel embraced by him. And by doing so he is embracing many different musical genres. In music, so-called "classical" music in general, we tend to put things in small boxes. And that's perhaps a metaphor for what happens in our world today. Everybody wants to define who they are and stay there but at the end of the day we live together. And there's a force that is beyond everything, which is harmony. And music is harmony, and Hannibal uses music to break all boundaries and bring everyone together. Hannibal is just an open heart and his music is an open heart. When I communicate with him he's very specific about what he wants. But it's never in musical terms: it's never about being faster, or slower, or louder: it's about being more driven or drawn to a different energy.
How does Hannibal's piece fit into the entire program?
The Sibelius [Symphony No. 5] and Copland [Appalachian Spring] on this program is music that has been strongly associated with a certain love of country. Music, we have to remember, is a powerful force to bring us all together. And season after season, we need and want those projects (last season was Bernstein's MASS). And I'm looking forward to having this piece by Hannibal bring us all together in Philadelphia and in the world.
Hannibal's One Land, One River, One People will be performed November 13-15.