Every concert is usually filled with wonderful music played by talented musicians. Do you ever wonder where that music actually comes from, and who writes it?
Oftentimes, you never will have the chance to meet the composer. However, on Friday, Dec. 8, each and every piece performed in the concert that night was composed by someone who was in attendance of the Student Composer showcase.
The composition students of Dr. Heather Gilligan, Christopher Swist and Dr. Andrew Smith put on a diverse performance.
Sophomore music composition and vocal performance major Tyler Martin opened up the show with his piece titled “Alleluia.” This was his first piece in a composition recital, and he said opening the show was a little nerve wracking, but he thought it went very well overall.
Martin said the inspiration behind “Alleluia” was to blend old styles of music with more contemporary styles. “I sing a lot of old music in my voice lessons and ensembles and I really like it,” Martin said. “But I also really like modern and contemporary stuff, so I thought that I would try to combine them both, by using melody that sounds really old, but on top of really modern chords.”
Martin, a tenor, performed his composition alongside Matthew McGinnis, tenor, Geoffrey Edwards, bass, Christian Terry, bass and Kirsten Becker, who played the piano. He said the choice to perform his own composition was because he knew he could sing the parts that he wrote, as well as the limited amount of male singers available in the program.
Following Martin, nine other student compositions were performed. Audience member and senior trumpet performance major Joseph Conti thought the night’s performances were amazing. “I always love to see what the students are doing here, especially because there are students that you didn’t even know composed,” Conti said. “Then you find out they have these amazing talents to actually write music.”
Conti said the last piece, “Blood of Moon and Thunders’ Echo,” composed by student Alex Wilderman, really stood out to him. The piece was broken into two parts, and used lighting and percussion to convey its’ story. Wilderman said it was inspired by his viewing of a blood moon over a lake, followed by a thunderstorm rolling down the mountains over the lake.
Dr. Heather Gilligan, who taught some of the students who had pieces in the composition recital, thought the performance went great.
“The students performed well, it was an interesting variety of pieces,” Gilligan said.
Gilligan explained that while students can write compositions for instruments they themselves play, as a few of the student composers did, they are encouraged to write compositions for instruments they do not play as well. “What we teach in the composition classes or lessons is the orchestrations associated with essentially characteristics of instruments,” Gilligan said. “Whether you play them or not you should be able to write for them, so sometimes they purposefully write for instruments they don’t play so that they can branch out.”
Meridith King can be contacted at email@example.com