COFE Presents: 2022


Milton Babbitt
W.A. Mozart
George Walker
Jay Fluellen
William Grant Still

Elizabeth Hainen, harp

March 19, 3PM

Haverford College
Michael Jaharis Recital Hall
370 Lancaster Avenue,
Haverford, PA

March 23, 8PM

African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas
6361 Lancaster Ave.,
Philadelphia, PA

All concerts free and open to the public without ticket

Please note indoor masking is required.

 – Milton Babbitt, “Transfigured Notes,” excerpt, in a version for nine solo strings
 – W.A. Mozart, Divertimento, K. 136
 – George Walker,”Lyric” for Strings
 – Jay Fluellen, new commissioned work, “Time Diverted” for strings
 – William Grant Still, “Ennanga” for harp (Elizabeth Hainen) and strings
Our program features excerpts from Milton Babbitt’s famous and controversial “Transfigured Notes;” a new commissioned work for string orchestra by Jay Fluellen; harpist Elizabeth Hainen in William Grant Still’s “Ennanga;”  and George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings.”  And to top it all off, one of Mozart’s most precocious and virtuosic early works, the Divertimento in D, K. 136. How can anyone resist this exciting program!
In 1985 the Philadelphia Orchestra scheduled “Transfigured Notes” for performance under
three different guest conductors, only to have all performances cancelled and the Orchestra’s management to proclaim the work “unplayable.” COFE will juxtapose a recorded four-minute excerpt of the original version with our own live version for nine solo strings, authorized by the composer’s publisher and supported by the Musical Fund Society.
Jay Fluellen’s new “Time Diverted” takes off from Mozart’s Divertimento as Babbitt’s “Transfigured Notes”  reflected on Schoenberg’s “Transfigured Night.” George Walker’s little gem “Lyric for Strings” and William Grant Still’s “Ennanga” are two remarkable classics by African-American composers. We are proud to juxtapose them with Jay Fluellen’s intriguing new work. 



“Reminding you that all music was once new,” WRTI’s elegant catchphrase for its Composers Forum programs, was in the back of artistic director James Freeman’s mind when he founded Chamber Orchestra FIRST EDITIONS (COFE) in 2015.

After 27 years as founder and artistic director of Orchestra 2001, during which he conducted more than 300 concerts, recorded 18 commercial CDs, toured Russia, Denmark, England, Austria, and Cuba, and brought Orchestra 2001 to international prominence, Freeman resigned in April of 2015 to begin a new orchestra with a new mission: Chamber Orchestra FIRST EDITIONS.

In the six intervening years, COFE has commissioned and premiered twelve new works by Philadelphia-area composers, and featured some of this city’s most eminent artists as soloists in concertos by W.A. Mozart.

How do these two seemingly unrelated themes – Mozart and modern –  intersect? As Freeman describes it, “The miracle of Mozart’s genius took place by leaps and bounds.  We can see and hear this happening in our concerts, from his youth to the mastery of his adult years.   So, too, can we see and hear the leaps and bounds of today’s composers, and that is what COFE is all about: magic and miracles by leaps and bounds, from Mozart to the 21st century.”