JOHN ESTACIO: Born in Newmarket, Ontario, April 8, 1966; now living in Edmonton

A thunderous introduction by the percussion, a quirky little chromatic melody tossed back and forth by various pairs of instruments, an ostentatious tune in the brass and a lilting melody in the flute are the ingredients John Estacio mixes into his brisk little five-minute concert opener, a work that truly lives up to its title – an amalgamation of the words “frenetic” and “energy.”

John Estacio ranks as one of Canada’s most frequently commissioned and performed composers. Over the past decade and a half he has served as composer-in-residence at the Edmonton Symphony (1992-1999), the Calgary Philharmonic (2000-2003), the Banff Centre and Calgary Opera (both 2000-2004). In 2003 Calgary Opera gave the world premiere of Estacio’s first opera, Filumena, to a libretto by Canadian playwright John Murrell. Filumena was also performed in Ottawa as part of the opening events of Alberta Scene in 2005. Calgary Opera likewise premiered his second opera, Frobisher, on January 27, 2007, also to a libretto by Murrell.

Estacio composed the five-minute Frenergy for the Edmonton Symphony, which gave the first performance on March 20, 1998 with Grezegorz Nowak conducting. Frenergy has since become one of Estacio’s most popular works. The composer writes:

“The title comes from an amalgamation of the words ‘frenetic’ and ‘energy.’ The tempo for this short concert opener is brisk and the pacing of melodic ideas is often a bit frantic, as befits the title. It begins with a thunderous introduction by the percussion, which establish the infectious 6/8 pulse. After an orchestral tutti, the winds introduce a chromatic melody that is quickly tossed back and forth from pairings of instruments. This quirky little melody often complements an ostentatious tune frequently performed by the brass. The third melody, introduced by a solo flute, is perhaps the most substantial tune of the piece and is strongly characterized by the 6/8 lilt of the piece. A harmonically restless string passage leads into a return of the opening material, and the piece concludes with a full force orchestral tutti along with the pounding drums of the opening.”
Robert Markow

© 2010, Robert Markow

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans