You can’t spell Carnegie Hall without “car,” right? So in a way it seems fairly fitting that a symphony piece featuring Ford car parts took to the grand stage on October 4, 2012, as part of a new piece by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence, Mason Bates, called “Alternative Energy.”
The “energy symphony”—with a theme of forces of energy in industry, in the past, current, and future—kicked off the Carnegie Hall 2012-2013 season. The piece starts in a Midwestern junkyard, then travels hundreds of years to the future. Old Ford parts were assembled by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principle percussionist, Cynthia Yeh, and performed onstage in such a way that it seems to conjure up a mental image of Henry Ford working in a junkyard. A blues fiddle accompanies the car parts; Cynthia plays a drumset comprised of scraps collected at a junkyard.
“Alternative Energy” was written especially for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have performed the piece in places such as Chicago, California, and, fittingly, Michigan.