George Tsontakis was born in New York, and has Greek decent. He studied composition at the Julliard School. Tsontakis recieved an Academy Award in 1995 and has was nominated for a Grammy Award with his composition Ghost Variations. Let the River be Unbrocken again 75th Anniversary for the Alexandria Virginia Symphony. He wanted to have the music connected to the Petomic River. He wanted to create a medley of Appalachian music from the civil war.
The work begins with an off stage fiddler, who plays an Appalachian folk melody and slowly the various instruments of the orchestra being fragments of the tune in a fugal style. The work appears to be sectionalized in places. There are places within the music where the classics forms are very obvious (such as the fugue), and there are other sections of the music that place the music in the twenty-first century. In these sections he takes some of folk melodies and presents them concurrently in two different keys. (7:35).
There are sections in the work that make it ovbious that Tsontakis has a hreat deal of influence from the Romantic period.
Tsontakis Piano Quartet, composed in 2005, also emulates the huge Romantic influence he has. He uses the piano to portray a lot of the harmonic color in the work, while the other instruments appear to have lines that are focused more on the melodic emphasis than harmonic emphasis. The lines are very emotive and with lots of tension back and forth between the instruments.
I think the idea of have two melodies played together in different keys at the same time is interesting, but in this piece it doesn't sound harsh. Tsontakis music is very clearly structured both in terms of harmony and style and these can be easily identified when listening to his music compared to other composers. His music was easy on the ears yet radically placed firmly in the twenty-first century, and has an identifiable style.