Composed:  2003
Commission:  Ohio Bicentennial committee
Premiere: ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Timothy Russell, conductor,  February 23, 2003
Duration: 8 minutes
Instrumentation:  2( 2nd picc.)222; 4210; 2 perc. (3 optional), (chimes, susp. cymbal, vibes, glock, opt. xylophone) piano, strings (64441)


I.  Centennial Bells
II.  Sing with the Lark
III.  Red Hill Special March

Century’s Song was commissioned by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission for the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Ohio to commemorate the Ohio Bicentennial.  The ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus first performed it on February 23, 2003 with Timothy Russell, Music Director, conducting.  A signature bicentennial event was the casting of a handmade bicentennial bell in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.  The ringing of bells therefore became a prominent feature in the energetic fanfare, Centennial Bells.  The second movement is a song that the composer set to a poem titled With the Lark by the African American poet from Dayton Ohio, Paul Laurence Dunbar.  As requested by the Bicentennial Committee, this movement was composed for choir as well as for orchestra and can be performed by choir and orchestra together or for a cappella choir, or orchestra alone.  The last movement is a lively march with occasional quotes from the Red Hill Special, a fiddle tune that can be heard on the recording, Folk Music of Ohio, 1938 through 1940.


"The piece is strongly reminiscent of Aaron Copland's popular compositions - energetic and strongly rhythmic in the fast sections, thoughtful and wistful in the slow sections, and always tuneful and pleasant, with wide-spaced harmonies. It would be worth hearing again"  - David Lewellen, Canton Repository, 2003

"The new piece is wonderfully conceived and highly likable, and it should be accessible to all audiences...Brouwer's music accomplishes its mission in imaginative and meaningful ways...the composer has woven Ohio history and an optimistic spirit into the very fabric of her music...Brouwer's piece certainly manifests the influence of the music of Aaron Copland. But if you are going to be indebted to any American composer, especially in a work like this one, Copland surely is the best choice." - Barbara Zuck, The Columbus Dispatch, 2003