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Stewart Copeland To Rock The Symphony

Stewart Copeland drummed for the wildly popular '80s and '90s group The Police. Now he's back in San Antonio on a decidedly different beat.  He's written a concerto called The Tyrant's Crush, and he says writing a score for an orchestra is tougher than making rock-n-roll.

"You have to create on the page for others to play later what you are holding in your head, so it's much more mentally strenuous," he says. 

The Tyrant's Crush has a curious inception.

"The Tyrant's Crush began as a concerto for percussion and Orcs commissioned by the Liverpool Royal  Philharmonic."

Copeland shortens "orchestral players" to "orcs." After the Liverpool event the Pittsburgh Symphony contracted him to extend the piece, then play it onstage with them.

"And we now have this 30-minute piece called Tyrant's Crush  for Stew-daddy and orchestra," Copeland says.

Despite the difficulty of composing, Copeland feels like a kid in a musical candy shop.

"Oh man--it is too much fun!  Last week I was in Buffalo, New York. It's a wonderful city full of wonderful people, but it ain't Venice, okay?" he laughs.  "I had the best time up there!  That's so much fun, to just parachute into a city and work with 60 complete strangers."

Since he worked last November with the San Antonio Symphony, he's got a soft spot for Maestro Lang-Lessing and the musicians here.

"Not as in the case with San Antonio. They're my buddies now, we're down. But to just pull it together so quickly with such a high level of musicianship, and deliver on the night--that is very sweet."

Copeland is counting his lucky stars on finding a second career. 

"Really, just between you and me--I'm kind of a pirate here. I've snuck in the back door. This is a classical world and I'm not a classical composer. I'm a rock-n-roll guy. But I'm very interested in what that orchestra can do."

And this weekend, that orchestra is interested in what he can do. Copeland performs with the Symphony Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5. 

Find more on Stewart Copeland here

Find more on the San Antonio Symphony here.

Behind the scenes look at getting the score on paper.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii