In the March issue of Relix, Bob Weir described an orchestral project that he intends to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. The NSO has confirmed four dates for this collaboration, which will take place on Feb. 9, 10, 12, 13, 2022. For these shows, Steven Reineke will serve as conductor while Weir and Wolf Bros will be joined by The Wolpack, the string and brass quintet featuring Alex Kelly, Brian Switzer, Adam Theis, Mads Tolling, and Sheldon Brown.
In the Relix interview Weir explained what he hand in mind for the project:
“We’ve orchestrated the songs in a fashion where they can be employed modularly, so that, for instance, if we do a three-night run at one venue and then go to another venue, the songs won’t come in the same order. It’s going to be like all my bands do it—every night will be different. And we’re also working up some techniques to get a symphony orchestra improvising for long periods of time. Now, of course, most of what is played by the orchestra is going to be scored. But there are going to be long sections where we have section leaders who are given options. We need to practice it a little bit first, but the fact is that the performances of the songs will never be the same, either.”
“As part of that, we’re going to embed improv leaders in the orchestra, who can lead their sections. For instance, we’ve got a guy who’s a great cellist, and in the passages where we want to start looking into improvisation, he can lead the charge for that section. We’ve identified five people so far that we’re confident can do this, so we need to work with them as much as we can to get everybody on the same page when it comes to the improv. The five players that we have are quite good and they’re picking it up real quick. It’s sounding pretty plump and full when we try it with just 10 pieces. Frankly, it’s already sounding pretty enormous and I’m kind of happy with it.”
Tickets are now on sale through NSO subscription packages.