The Keene State College Music Department presented another installment in the student recital series with the Student Composers’ Recital, an evening filled with classical music that came with unique inspiration.

On Nov. 20, 12 KSC music students, with a mixture of those who do and do not major in composition, unveiled their own personally written and arranged classical music pieces to be played in front of a live audience at the Redfern Arts Center.

Each performance included a variety of instruments and sounds with some included singing from KSC students Cari Caswell (soprano) and Corinne Colgrove (alto). KSC student Derrick Hegeman displayed his creativity with his piece titled “The Pulse of Nature,” performed by Andrea Turgeon (EB Clarinet), Cora Dykens (Bb Clarinet) and Callie Carmosino (bassoon). Hegeman said his piece was inspired by composed soundtracks one might hear on a quest in a video game.

Hegeman said, “I love video games and I definitely want to pursue getting my masters in film and video game composition, so I decided to spend the rest of my time here writing video game music.”

Colton McCracken/ Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken/ Equinox Staff

Hegeman’s piece followed a performance composed by fellow KSC student Duffy Bengtson, which was based off of the greek myth Sisyphus.

The myth is about a king of Ephyra named Sisyphus who was punished for self-aggrandizing and malicious behavior by being forced to roll a massive boulder up a hill, only to have the boulder inevitably roll back toward him.

When asked what connection he had to greek mythology, Bengtson shared that it had been something that had been special to him growing up.

Bengtson said, “I used to be into a lot of greek mythology as a kid. My dad and I would read passages from the Odyssey every now and then and it’s just always been something that interested me.”

Bengtson also said that he received a lot of help in class during critique sessions when his music was heard.

“In the classroom setting, we actually got to listen to each other’s pieces and give little critiques to each other, which is really helpful,” Bengtson said. “I actually got a lot of helpful advice from our professor Andrew Smith… Rehearsals with the actual performers themselves was pretty cool because I got to hear things differently than how they were happening in my head.”

The piece was performed by Jessica Macias (flute), Carolyn Cunningham (viola) and Rebecca Putnam (cello).

KSC student Matthew Marzola not only displayed his own piece to a nearly filled theatre audience, but also performed it himself playing the vibraphone along side Brendan Goodwin, who played the euphonium.

Marzola’s piece was entitled “Theme for the Ruins,” and he explained his inspiration for the piece and it’s title after the show.

Marzola said, “I kind of just had a landscape in mind and had to take that mood or character. It was called ruins, so I took ruins or a cave kind of inspiration towards it.”

Marzola added that himself and many of the other student composers are very visual and usually envision a landscape or an environment to inspire the sound of their piece when creating it.

The evening concluded with a heartwarming presentation by Blake Powell, who presented his piece titled “Duet for Flute and Cello.”

Performed by Jessica Macias (flute) and Rebecca Putnam (Cello), Powell said that his piece was dedicated to his grandfather who had recently passed away.

Nick Tocco can be contacted at

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“Keene State College music recitals: Ensemble Recital at the Redfern Arts Center Alumni Recital Hall”

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