Casey Crescenzo, frontman of rock band The Dear Hunter, is composing his first symphony, and is raising funds from his fans to finance the four-movement work's recording with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic this fall.
Incentives for those who support the project at http://pledgemusic.com/thedearhunter range from autographed score books and a limited edition double gatefold vinyl release of the symphony, to the opportunity to join Crescenzo in the Czech Republic for the recording, or have him hand-deliver the vinyl release and score book to their home and perform a private concert.
Ambitious musical endeavors are nothing new for Crescenzo. The Dear Hunter's first three albums, Acts I-III, represented the first half of a planned six-act story saga; he then took a break from the saga to record The Color Spectrum, a series of nine EPs each named for, and thematically oriented to, one of the colors of the rainbow (plus black and white). Earlier this year, The Dear Hunter released The Color Spectrum Live DVD, featuring a performance of all 36 songs from the series, accompanied by a string quartet. They'll also be joined by a string quartet for select major-market dates on their September U.S. tour in support of new album Migrant.
Despite growing up in a musical family -- his father was a songwriter, recording engineer and producer, and his mother a studio vocalist, both at the legendary Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California -- Crescenzo didn't take the traditional route to orchestral composition. "Growing up, symphonic music was incredibly inspiring," he says, "but I didn't really possess the palette to understand everything that was going on. I never learned to read or write music in the traditional sense. Staff music has always looked like a Dead Sea Scroll to me, and I never felt I was even capable of comprehending it, let alone using it to create. It wasn't until I needed to prepare music for the Color Spectrum show in Somerville that I was forced to try and crack the surface on my own, and in attempting to do so, I found a real love for arranging in that more traditional workflow."
Crescenzo worked his way through the orchestrations for that show, as well as for the string arrangement on Migrant. "Shortly after, I found myself with an intense yearning to create a piece of music vastly different than anything I had before. One that would take influence from the music that has really moved me in the last few decades. Never being one to give myself an easy job, I felt a four-movement symphony was the perfect challenge."
But the drive to make music beyond the limitations of rock's traditional guitar, bass and drums was always there. "When I started The Dear Hunter, I knew I wanted to produce music that was thoughtfully arranged. I wanted records that took advantage of the vast world of timbre offered through instruments beyond the standard rock band layout."
"To be honest," Crescenzo says, "I don't fully know what it is that I hope to accomplish with this. I just know that its something I feel passionate about completing. That feeling has been my guiding factor in the past, so I have to trust it. It will seriously be a dream come true if this campaign is successful, and if the music is actually recorded."