In late April, Illinois State University will premiere ASCAP composer Dennis Tobenski’s new 18-minute work titled “Only Air” for soprano and orchestra. The piece memorializes the gay teens who have committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying, and was commissioned by Dr. Glenn Block and the ISU Symphony. “Only Air’ will be premiered on Saturday, April 27th with soprano Michelle Vought. The week of the premiere, ISU’s College of Fine Arts will host a series of events, including a panel on bullying. The text from the piece is taken from a poem of the same name by New York poet Kathryn Levy, from her collection Losing the Moon.
Tobenski commented on his work: "I see the piece as the orchestral equivalent to an ‘It Gets Better’ video, in part because it memorializes these tragic deaths, but also because I myself was bullied and harassed when I was these boys’ ages, and could just as easily have ended up one of the countless senseless suicides that claim so many young gay men and women. This commission and Illinois State University’s enthusiastic support of the project are mytestament that it does, in fact, get better."
To learn more, visit www.dennistobenski.com.