Culmination 1 for Solo Viola, Orchestra, and Synthesizers

Time: 12:21

About This Composition

Program Notes:

This composition is the culmination of a natural but unplanned series of musical journeys that transpired over a 20-year period. They include my solo and chamber music performing on violin and viola, experimentation with electronic contributions to musical composition and performance, and my study and love of composition.

CULMINATION 1 combines three performance entities in the concert hall: the solo acoustic viola, the symphonic orchestra and electronics that realize orchestrations utilizing synthesized sounds and textures.

The unaccompanied solo viola introduction leads into a broad melodic theme, which utilizes the naturally dark and ambient tone of the acoustic viola. The symphonic strings that underpin the solo viola gradually (during an extremely slow cross fade from acoustic to synthetic sounds) give way to the introduction of completely synthesized sounds, which compose the orchestral underpinning of the 2nd major theme. The end of the 2nd theme gives way to an extremely rhythmic and driving middle section. Here the solo viola combines traditional virtuosic passage work with the orchestrated synthetic sounds at their most developed stage.

Connecting out of this section we cross fade back to the symphonic strings and the solo viola performing a developed treatment of the broad melodic theme, which then leads into a reutterance of the unaccompanied solo viola opening.

Richard Sortomme, Oct. 1997


Buy PDF of score

Buy PDF of solo viola part




License digital audio track, Culmination 1-“the track, of the orchestration:

The orchestrtation contains the orchestral tracks and synthesizer tracks, minus the solo viola performance.  The purchaser must sign a Purchase License Agreement before receiving the emailed digital audio file.  It will allow UNLIMITED use of the “track” as long as all terms of the agreement are honored.

In contact form dropdown, select “Request License Agreement.”

This composition is directed toward Viola Soloists, to achieve numerous performances in recital of a composition which was originally created for performance with orchestra and synthesizers. 

This is a UNIQUE opportunity!

There is a fully recorded and mixed audio file of the full orchestration-orchestra tracks and 18 tracks of synthesizers, MINUS the solo viola recording.  This can be utilized to play along with the LIVE solo violist’s performance.

After the elements are connected and the viola is playing along with the “track” a balance must be achieved between the level of the solo viola and the output of the track, and the level of the track in the Ear Speaker.

 All of this technology is portable allowing it to move from recital to recital.  Once the technology is set up in the concert hall it will be necessary to balance the track to the solo viola and get a proper level in the ear speaker.  This is all designed to work beautifully in a space as small as a conference room, to concert halls that seat from 200 to 1000 people.  This has already been done many times.

It can also be performed in medium to large concert halls using the auditorium’s sound system, if they have one.   An auditorium that has a sound system means that it will have a mixing board.  So, the same technology assembled for performance in recital will be used, EXCEPT, that in the final stage of connecting everything the two “outs” from the Mackie mixer go directly into the auditorium’s mixing board or into “stage boxes” on the stage. The two “outs” will NOT go to the two speakers that are part of the initial assemblage of technology.

I am always available for technical help in this setup.”


The following list is of the most essential technological elements needed to perform Culmination 1 in recital.  I have assembled them from Sweetwater Music Instruments & Pro Audio with the help of the sales representative Patrick Cobley.  He has helped me for 15 years in the acquisition of technology I have needed.  His phone and email are below:

Patrick Cobley, Senior Sales Engineer

Direct Line (calls and text) 260-247-6739    800-222-4700 ext 1252     [email protected]

Contact Microphone for Viola

KNA VV-3 Piezo Pickup for Violin and Viola

Cable to connect contact microphone to DI box

Co 10′ Excellines Inst Cable TS-TS

Converter from high impedance to low impedance

Behringer 1-ch Passive Instrument DI

Cable from DI box to Mackie mixer

Pro Co 15′ XLRF-XLRM Excellines Mic Cable

Mixing Board

Mackie 8-ch Compact Mixer

2 Speakers

Electro-Voice 12″ 1000W ZLX Powered Spkr w/BT

2 Cables from speakers to Mackie board

Pro Co 30′ TRSM-XLRM Cable

Speaker stands -2 in a bag

On-Stage Stands Spkr Std, Alum (pr) w/Bag

Ear speaker

Listen Technologies LA-401 Ear Speakers

Cable for ear speaker to Mackie mixer-phones

Hosa 25′ 1/4 TRSM-3.5 TRSF Ext Cable w/REAN

Pedal to add reverb to solo viola

Behringer DR600 Digital Reverb Pedal

Pedal player to play track

TC Electronic Ditto Plus Looper Pedal

Approximate Total Cost                 $1498.31

Quote ID                                          6717861           

Please call Patrick Cobley/Sweetwater Music Instruments & Pro Audio at contact numbers above for any clarifications and correct Tax amount $ for your state.  Reference the Quote ID.

Connections & Routing

  • Attach Contact Microphone on Viola>Connect 10’ ¼” Cable to Contact Microphone> Connect 10’ ¼” Cable to Behringer DR600 Digital Reverb Pedal> Connect 10’ ¼” Cable to Reverb Pedal> Connect 10’ ¼” Cable to to Behringer 1-ch Passive Instrument DI Box>Connect 15’ XLR Cable to DI Box>Connect 15’ XLR Cable to Mackie Mixer>Connect two 30’ XLR Cables>Connect two 30’ XLR Cables to Speakers
  • Connect 10’ ¼’ Cable to Looper Pedal> Connect 10’ ¼’ Cable to Behringer 1-ch Passive Instrument DI Box> Connect 15’ XLR Cable to DI Box> Connect 15’ XLR Cable to Mackie Mixer
  • Connect 25’ Hosa Cable to Ear Speaker> Connect 25’ Hosa Cable to Mackie Mixer phones output