Clint Needham

The "Sounds of Akron" project hailed as "magically celebratory" evoking "strong emotion."

Composer-in-residence Premieres Symphony Integrating Everyday Sounds

April 28, 2016

Clint NeedhamBW composer-in-residence Clint Needham '04 spent the past year composing music inspired by and integrating ordinary, everyday audio recordings collected and submitted by the people of Akron. The result is a work hailed as "a magically celebratory experience" by the Akron Beacon-Journal.

Needham's original “City Meets Symphony” piece was world premiered at an Akron Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday, April 16 at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron.

Lively Work Evokes Strong Emotion

In the Beacon-Journal review, writer Kerry Clawson praises the way the innovative piece "paid homage to the city's history, industry, neighborhoods, people, culture and music scene." She went on to say:

"The lively 30-minute symphonic work, inspired by community-submitted sounds that Needham fashioned into an integrated electronic track, also brought out strong emotions. That was especially true in a segment where a man gives his recorded testimonial about how Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in Akron, has saved millions of lives.

That powerful moment segued into a beautiful recorded vocal of Amazing Grace, sung by a Gospel Meets Symphony Gospel Choir member. Birds chirping and children laughing moved straight into an incredibly tender symphonic portion of the new work that built into a huge swell." 

World Premiere Anticipation

Sounds of Akron logoIn the lead-up to the premiere of the "Sounds of Akron community collaboration," funded by Knight Foundation, Needham was featured in media previews across the region and beyond. One of the stories that aired on WCPN-ideastream (along with other NPR affiliates around the country, from Nashville to WBUR in Boston) included interviews and samples of the eclectic mix of sounds that residents collected using a special MIT-designed app.

Needham’s project was also highlighted in stories by the Cleveland Plain Dealer/,  Akron Beacon-Journal,, WCLV-radio, COOLCleveland, and Cleveland Classical and more.