ASCAP film composer Jeff Rona has composed "Songs of the Sea: The Regatta Suite" at the invitation of the International Olympics Committee and the City of Qingdao, host of the 2008 Olympics Regatta. The music will be the theme of the Olympic regatta competition.
On July 16, in Qingdao at the Olympic Village, Rona conducted a 110-piece orchestra, traditional Chinese musicians and one of the country's top sopranos in the first ever performance of the music. Rona tapped renowned poet David Whyte and singer/songwriter Lisa Gerrard (of Dead Can Dance) to create words as part of the concert. Rona also brought the production to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in the two weeks leading up to the opening of the games.
"The Olympics are about being a part of the world," Rona said. "The IOC wanted music that had a universal sound, one that conveyed the scope and prestige of the games."
Rona traveled to the seaside town of Qingdao in January to tour the just completed Olympic Village, meet with the artistic directors, and get a feel for what he might compose. Upon his return to Los Angeles, he began to sketch the 12 pieces that would make up "The Regatta Suite." Rona composed the symphonic pieces in a way that reflected his experiences in China, and brought his own personal sense of music and culture to the Olympics. He returned to China in July to record the Suite.