Daniel Kellogg's studio near Boulder, Colo., has a great view.
"I have a panoramic view from mountains to the west all the way to the flat horizon to the east," Kellogg says. "It's quite a nice view."
Let's call it inspiring.
That view inspired Kellogg's How Radiant the Dawn, a work commissioned by the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra that will have its world premiere Friday night. Kellogg already has been here once in the past year — to debut his chamber work Look Up at the Sky with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington.
The commissions are the first product of the festival and Philharmonic's Sakaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence Program, which will bring in a composer every other year to write a new work for the festival and the orchestra. It is up to Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell and Chamber Music Festival artistic director Nathan Cole to select the composer.
"The summer before we had to decide, I said to Nathan, 'Who do you want to discuss?'" Terrell says. "He said, you probably haven't heard of him. Have you heard the name Daniel Kellogg? I said, 'That's really interesting because he was on my list of two or three people I wanted to talk to you about.' So it was actually a really short meeting."
Kellogg, an assistant professor of composition at the University of Colorado, previously has been commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra, and he has six ASCAP young composer awards and a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Recordings of his music include the critically acclaimed Beginnings by the world- renowned new music ensemble Eight Blackbird.
Kellogg says his numerous commissions had never included one like the Sakaly Garbulinska program offered, in which he was tapped by two groups in the same area. That brought Kellogg to Lexington in August to work with the Chamber Festival musicians on Look Up at the Sky, which was inspired by the novel The Little Prince.
"It seems like a real arts-rich community, which is refreshing to discover," Kellogg said of his summer visit. "I went to a fund-raiser at the mayor's house for some arts organization, and just seeing his art collection had me thinking how wonderful is that, that probably at all levels, there's an appreciation of the arts going on in Lexington."
Kellogg will get to know the city even better this week with a schedule that includes school visits and other talks and forums. That includes a Kicked-Back Classics concert on Thursday night at the Downtown Arts Center, at which he'll discuss his approach to composition and the Philharmonic will play his most famous composition, Mozart's Hymn.
"It's a string fantasy based on the choral piece Ave Verum Corpus," Kellogg says of the work, which was commissioned in 2006 in observance of the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. The Philharmonic will play the piece at its April 27 concert.
The centerpiece of this visit, though, will be Friday night's world premiere of How Radiant the Dawn, which Kellogg says was inspired by a desire to keep up with sky theme set forth last summer and watching sunrises while working in his studio.
"If I'm up really early, it's the entire experience, from pitch black to watching the light travel all across the sky," Kellogg says. "The music begins very softly, and there's a cello solo that gradually emerges and little fragments come in bit by bit. It sort of accumulates on itself and becomes longer and longer until it becomes this all-encompassing melody and moves into a faster section."
In addition to the idea of light emerging across the sky, Kellogg says, he contemplated the idea of beginnings, keeping in mind some friends who were nearing the birth of their child.
"It's an overture, essentially," Kellogg says of the nine-minute piece — an overture to a variety of beginnings.