Joseph Bohigian and his Pigeons

Joseph Bohigian, a Fresno native, joined the Youth Orchestras of Fresno in his senior year of high school, and was appointed principal percussionist of its top ensemble, the Youth Philharmonic. A year later, he matriculated at Fresno State University, joined the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, and became the percussion coach for the Youth Philharmonic.

Thomas Loewenheim is the conductor of both the Youth Philharmonic and Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, and when Joseph – who was working towards his degree in composition – wrote a piece for the Symphony Orchestra in his junior year at Fresno State, Dr. Loewenheim was a key advisor in both the work’s development and, of course, its premiere performance.

Last year Joseph approached Dr. Loewenheim about performing one of his more-recent works. Dr. Loewenheim one-upped Joseph and asked if he would be interested in writing a new piece for the FOOSA Philharmonic, to be premiered in June at Walt Disney Concert Hall. After meeting in Fresno in January, Joseph agreed to the commission and work began.

Dr. Loewenheim’s stipulation for the new piece was that the be “big and exciting and give everyone something fun to do.” With a huge orchestra performing in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Joseph started by thinking on what he could do to fill up the grand space.

Subnatural Delights will run a little over eight minutes and will feature a special section, which Joseph calls a “group cadenza,” for the phenomenal FOOSA faculty. It will sound as if a chamber orchestra composed of the principal players is embedded within the full FOOSA Philharmonic.

The inspiration for this new piece comes, in large part, from a Gastropod podcast that interested Joseph greatly, entitled “Smoked Pigeon and Other Subnatural Delights.” He explains that “Subnature” is an architectural term that refers to the less-desirable elements of the environment. Not of the “natural” environment, but rather the environment that we humans have built on top of it. Industrialization, for example, is one of the these harsh and less-than-ideal parts of nature, and outcomes effected by industrialization can be termed “subnature.” 

Listen for industrial- and machine-like sounds out of the FOOSA Philharmonic when Dr. Thomas Loewenheim conducts the world premeiere of Joseph Bohigian’s Subnatural Delights on a program also featuring Mahler 6 and Strauss’ Don Juan, Friday June 23, 2017 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tickets are offered free of charge and can be reserved here.

subnatural delights

parking-lot quail