W H O A ! is a piece commissioned by the Woodwind Quintet Faculty of the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, MI.
It’s inspired by Two Roads, a simple poem my wife Maria wrote in 2015 about her late paint horse unexpectedly bolting during a ride in the wilderness. Over the hills and through the woods is an understatement regarding Forte’s sudden sprint. Starting off with a simple walk, the energetic creature sent Maria into a whirlwind of a short-but-rapid adventure, ultimately coming to a stop with a fired-up horse eager to return home. Twists and turns, unexpected meter changes, and melodic interruptions. Flute flourishes, horn rips, and clarinet glissandi. Dodging branches and fallen trees. A walk to a gallop and a gallop to a halt. These are but a few of the many ideas interspersed, creating a sonic scenario that will throw you onto the back of a charging horse.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
Rapidly we approached, he was charging
as strong as a warrior into battle.
“Whoa!” I commanded, but the fire
I rode upon misunderstood.
Pulling back, pressuring his mouth,
I wasn’t trying to ruin his fun–
but the beast’s euphoria disagreed
on this spontaneous run.
Down and sideways, up and out, four hooves defied
gravity while two feet met with earth.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and beside my horse I now stood.
– Maria Manfredonia, 2015
Tony is a composer and orchestrator for concerts and multimedia living in Petoskey, MI. He provides a multi-layered and sensory experience through expressive, colorful orchestration and warm melodies. He adds new perspectives to stories, environments, and everything in between through massive orchestral productions, as well as intimate atmospheres.
With performances and readings from renowned ensembles such as Apollo Chamber Players, the University of Cambridge Concert Band, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Tony's music has been played across the globe.
He actively brings new music to his Northern Michigan home. Northern Symphonic Winds (NSW) of Charlevoix, MI, commissioned Tony to write a new piece for the ensemble, titled, On the Threshold of Spring, which premiered in May 2019. He is currently NSW's composer-in-residence. Since 2018, he has worked closely with the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, with performances, premieres, and presentations for the summer students. In December 2019, he worked with The Accidentals, a local folk band, orchestrating their music for performance with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.
Continually branching out into various styles, many of his projects involve sacred music: the full, orchestral score for Saint Luke Productions' latest drama, "Tolton: From Slave to Priest," their upcoming film, "Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy," an Ave Maria for SATB Choir and Organ, as well as a Concert Band piece commissioned by Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem PA, "Rejoice in the Holy Spirit," which premiered in September 2018.
All the while, Tony lives the life of a video game composer, constructing sonic spaces and emotionally-driven tracks to enliven each game's world. His most recent, completed soundtracks are that for Kharon's Crypt and Rot:Purge. Currently, he is working on the music for Call of Saregnar, a 90’s-inspired low-poly 3D RPG. Bridging the gap between “game music” and “contemporary classical music,” he continually strives to have his soundtracks performed as a means to draw in new audiences to the world of classical music. One example is his Suite from Kharon's Crypt, an orchestral medley of tracks from the Kharon's Crypt soundtrack.