Tim Young, Scott Faulkner, Zhou Tian & Laura Jackson explore the train tunnels in Truckee, CA.
Tim Young, Scott Faulkner, Zhou Tian & Laura Jackson explore the train tunnels in Truckee, CA.


CONNECTING OUR NATION: A musical celebration of the Transcontinental Railroad

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2019, which corresponds with the 150th celebration of the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion, the Reno Philharmonic Association is leading a consortium to commission Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian to write an orchestral work.

From our nation’s post-Civil War healing and recovery to the plight of migrant railroad builders to the opening of the West to the very creation of the city of Reno, the Transcontinental Railroad is a trove of themes, which are as a timely today as they were in 1869.

The growing list of participating orchestras includes the Omaha Symphony (home of one TRR terminus), the Utah Symphony (home of the Golden Spike completion at Promontory Point), and the Michigan State University Symphony. We are looking for more orchestras of all budget sizes and geographic locations to join our consortium to help bring this important composition to life.  The Reno Phil will give the world premiere of this piece in April 2019, and the consortium orchestras will perform the work in an exclusive window after that.

If you or an orchestra you know is interested in signing on or getting more information, please contact consortium project manager Scott Faulkner ( faulkner1968@gmail.com ).

We hope that you will join us in celebrating the Phil’s 50th and this important project!


About Composer Zhou Tian [JOH TEE-en] Described as “absolutely beautiful” and “utterly satisfying” (Fanfare), the works of Chinese-born American composer Zhou Tian have been performed by major orchestras in the US and abroad, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and by leading soloists and ensembles such as pianist Yuja Wang, violist Roberto Díaz, guitarist Jason Vieaux, violinist Caroline Goulding, flutist Jeffrey Khaner, the Eroica Trio, the Arditti and Dover string quartets, the Empire Brass, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. His newest work, “Concerto for Orchestra,” commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, premiered in the orchestra’s 2015-16 season finale, conducted by music director Louis Langrée.  He is associate professor of composition at Michigan State University.

Zhou’s music has been performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, broadcast on NPR and PBS, and recorded on Cedille, Innova, and Pacific records. His large-scale symphonic suite for soloists, orchestra and chorus, “The Grand Canal,” was performed during a nationally televised celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He holds degrees from Curtis (B.M.), Juilliard (M.M.), and USC Thornton School of Music (D.M.A.); he is a first-prize winner of Washington International Composers Competition and ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Art Song Competition; and he has held fellowships from Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. His “Concerto for Orchestra” has been nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award. His principal teachers included Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, and Stephen Hartke. www.zhoutianmusic.com