New Music Friday: The Fortress of Shadows

This piece was inspired by Dunscaith Castle, a ruined castle on the coast of the Isle of Skye in northwest Scotland. Also called “The Fortress of Shadows,” it is named after and was the home of the warrior maiden Scáthach the Shadow, a legendary Scottish warrior woman, and martial arts teacher who trained the hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. The Irish name for the fort, Dun Scathiag, was named after her.

The Fortress of Shadows provides an opportunity for middle school or early high school ensembles to perform an epic-sounding work that is technically and musically accessible. With both lyrically majestic and driving musical sections, students encounter many opportunities to advance their technical, musical, and ensemble skills. The duration of this piece is approximately 4.5 minutes.

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About Mark Barnard

As a music educator, Mark Barnard has directed school and youth orchestras throughout the country, served as an educational guest conductor, clinician and presenter at state conventions and the American String Teachers National Conference. As a composer, arranger, and music editor, Mark Barnard has created numerous instrumental, choral and keyboard publications. His compositions and arrangements for educational orchestras have been featured and performed at the Midwest Clinic, Interlochen Center for the Arts and many conventions and festivals worldwide. A graduate of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the New England Conservatory, Mark studied under artistic directors Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Lewis and Michael Tilson Thomas in the orchestra at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute and was a member of the artistic and administrative team with Michael Tilson Thomas that launched the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy.

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