America's 250th birthday.
Join the celebration.

"unfinished" is to be a 40 minute work composed by Jim Stephenson for orchestra or concert band, projected visuals and spoken word. Now accepting consortium reservations. Read on to learn more.


Days until America's
250th Birthday


ABOUT "unfinished"

ABOUT "unfinished"

The Work

The Music
Beloved composer Jim Stephenson has been engaged to write a new 35-40 minute work.

Structure and Instrumentation
The work is being designed as 5-7 movements, each dealing with a different aspect of the American Experience. The score will be available for both full orchestra and symphonic concert band.

The Visuals
Designed as a multi-sensory concert experience, "unfinished" will incorporate projected visuals synchronized to the score. Each movement will be assigned to a different visual artist skilled in creating concert visuals that are both artistic and compelling.

The Spoken Word
We are working to incorporate a spoken word libretto into the work. Efforts are under way to approach poet Amanda Gorman with a request to commission or license her work. Other poets and authors are also being considered.

The Consortium

50 Performances / 50 States
To reflect the historic and national importance of this project we are committed to presenting "unfinished" in each of the 50 states during the 25-26 and 26-27 seasons.

We are working on the organizational structure of the project and will update this page as information becomes availbale.

Key Dates
The "unfinished" project is slated to launch publicly in the fall of 2024. The premiere is tentatively set for Memorial Day, 2026, with performances taking place across the country after that date.


Birthdays are often a time of reflection. They are a time to take stock, to consider where you have been and ponder the future. 

July 4, 2026 is a milestone birthday for America. The weeks and months leading up to that birthday will be filled with commentary and opportunities for reflection. All of us in the arts have a special role to play in that conversation. 

We believe the topic of that conversation is big enough to warrant significant projects - projects that compel us to dig deep in search of hidden truths and new perspectives. We believe that in this historic moment the arts can play a critical role in fostering understanding and building bridges. 

It can do that work by telling America's story in a unique and compelling way. America's story is rich and varied. It is full of promise and equally full of contradiction. But above all, it is a story about people. "unfinished" is to be a musical exploration of some of those people stories and lived experiences, organized around spoken word poetry synchronised to the score and enhanced by immersive multiumedia elements.



  • Historic and Factual

    No politics or agendas allowed. "unfinished" will be a work of art drawing from fact-based human stories.
  • Inclusive

    The American Experience is not a single thing. It is a rich tapestry of dreams and aspirations and histories. "unfinished" will be written with a global, multi-cultural perspective.
  • Inspiring

    In the words of the hit songwriting duo Hal David and Burt Bacharach, "What the world needs now is love" ..... and positivity ...... and inspiration.
  • Artistic and Cutting Edge

    This project will judge itself first and last in terms of artistry. In delivering that artistry the project will use design best practices and proven cutting edge technologies.
  • A Meaningful Contribution to the Conversation

    We, the artists, are on a mission to create a concert experience with lasting impact. We aspire to make the audience feel; to ponder and reflect on their American Experience long after they leave the hall.



Additional artists will be added as they come on board



Executive Producer

Craig Rice is a true Renaissance Man and a local legend in the Twin Cities film scene. He has worked as a studio musician, entertainment executive, filmmaker, entrepreneur and more. He has served as executive director of Paisley Park in Chanhassen, MN, road manager for Prince's Purple Rain Tour, and stage crew for Pink Floyd's The Wall Tour. As a film maker his credits are extensive and include feature length films, documentaries and music videos. He sits on the board of the Film Society of MPLS/St Paul and teaches filmmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.




Scott Winters is a conductor, music educator, accomplished businessman, and filmmaker. He has served as Director of Instrumental Music at Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) and as Music Director of the Minnetonka Civic Orchestra. He founded a non-profit art school in Burnsville, MN and grew it into a large community art center. He invented Muséik as a way to avoid using click tracks and other bothersome synchronizing methods in his conducting gigs. Muséik has taken him around the world, working with major musical acts and developing digital content for clients big and small. He is passionate about the future of concert multimedia and his work developing synchronizing technologies that allow for free artistic expression on stage.




Leading American orchestras, instrumentalists, and wind ensembles around the world have performed the music of Chicago based composer James M. Stephenson, both to critical acclaim and the delight of audiences. The Boston Herald raved about “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” A formal sense of melody and tonality characterize his music, each embedded in a contemporary soundscape. These qualities, coupled with the composer’s keen ability to write to each occasion, have led to a steady stream of commissions and ongoing projects.


Do you have any questions?

What is the timeline for making commitments to this project?
We plan to start asking for verbal commitments during summer 2024. Letters of intent will be requested in Fall 2023 with contracts available beginning in January, 2025.
What will pricing look like?
Our current plan has price points from $12,000 for large market ensembles all the way down to $2,000 for educational ensembles. There is a strong commitment to make the work financially accessible to ensebles of almost size and budget.
When will other project artists be announced?
Composer Jim Stephenson is fully engaged with the project. We are working to confirm a spoken word artist right now and will make an announcement as soon as that decision is final. Visual artists will be considered and selected during the fall of 2024.
How can I stay informed of new developments?
Simply enter your email in the sign up form below to receive periodic news and updates on this important project.


The digital media for "unfinished" will be driven by Ion Concert Media's groundsbereaking digital sync system called Muséik (mew ZAY ik).