On Saturday, May 2, student composers had their fourth and final performances of their work in the last Student Composers’ Recital.
These performances are a collaboration between the music majors and the composers who are responsible for finding performers for their pieces within the department, as well as distributing the music and scheduling rehearsals.
The composers have taken part in the Academic Excellence Conference, the National Council on Undergraduate Research 2015 Conference and master classes with French-Canadian composer Rejean Marios. They have also done a workshop with the concert band, as well as the chamber singers of Keene State College.
The recital’s pieces had created a common theme of nighttime, but this was not planned by any of the composers, it just happened on its own.
“That’s not usual to have a theme for our recitals,” Heather Gilligan said, one of the coordinators of the event, “We didn’t call for that.” The performances began with Jonathan Way’s piece, “Romance for a Dancer,” followed by Aaron David Taub’s, “Faces in the Moonlight.” Matthew Marrello continued the performances with his composition, “Through The Woods.” More pieces by Justin Young, Dimitrios Kapoukranidis and Jameson Foster continued, with each of their pieces in respective order, “Night Themes for Viola and Piano”, “At Great Pond” and “Prayer Through The Night.”
All of the composers involved brought a unique trait to their performances, but Foster’s piece “Prayer
Through The Night” stuck out. Foster (pictured below) composed a very old-style song, and his performance was not just an art form for the ears, but visual as well—he placed the performers in the shape of a Viking long ship. The piece also sounded like a working chant, and relied heavily on basses, bassoons and deep, heavy sounds for his piece. He was also the only composer to use many different people in his piece. “I hummed the melody to himself in the shower,” Foster admitted, “The inspiration to this piece struck me on a whim, and it took me within a couple weeks time to create.”
An audience member, Eric Dill, came to the performance on Saturday because he “wanted to go and support all of my friends by listening to them play, and listening to the composer’s work.” Dill is a music performance major with a focus in percussion, so watching the performance was a treat for him. “The last performance… I found that more people gave the song more feeling, personality and more general ‘sound’,” Dill explained regarding “Prayer Through The Night.” “When there are that many notes being played and sung at once, it’s amazing how beautiful and collective it sounds.”
The composition major has grown tremendously over the past five years and they currently have 17 students involved in their courses, planning to follow up with the major, which meets similarly rigorous demands as other majors.
Adam Filkins can be contacted at email@example.com