November 09, 2007

Performance features student composers' music

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — It doesn't get much fresher than this – student composers from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music host a free performance of original music beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.

Professor and Composer-in-Residence Frank Stemper coordinates the event. He said presenting a musical composition to an audience for the first time is the culmination of a long and challenging process.

"Hearing the music that you've written is the best education there is," he said. "As I've told my students, I can't really teach them how to compose – only they can teach themselves. The only way to learn how to invent, to compose, is to compose."

And to present the finished product to an audience.

Stemper described the process as grueling spontaneity. The steps of composing, creating the score by committing the notes to paper, finding appropriate musicians and rehearsing, finally performing – there is nothing spontaneous about any of that, Stemper said. However, he said, the act of inventing music is nothing but spontaneous.

"Composing, editing, improvising, inventing, rearranging, re-orchestrating, analyzing – that part of composing is completely spontaneous," he said. "It is spontaneous for every minute spent composing, for weeks and months prior to the performance."

Stemper said that the process of learning to compose, to create original music and to find one's own voice by definition means that these student composers are not "going with the flow."

"If these young composers are doing their jobs, all the pieces on this program should be very different," he said.

Here is what is on the program:

• "Graffiti" by Ike Minton (Du Quoin)

Oboe: Ed Benyas (SIUC professor of music, conducting, oboe)

Piano: Paul Transue (SIUC assistant professor of music, music coaching, accompaniment)

• "What I Learned from Her" by Eric Leach (Springfield)

Soprano: Morgan Thurman (Bonne Terre, Mo.)

Piano: Eric Leach

• "The Promise" by Ryan Bulliner (Du Quoin)

Piano: Ryan Bulliner

• "Experiment for Strings" by Justin Edgren (Buncombe)

Violin: Benjamin Schantz (Sterling)

Violin: Metiney Suwanga-Wongse (Cobden)

Viola: Stephanie Wooley (Dongola)

Cello: Alexandre Francois III (Kankakee)

• "Chorale with Orchestra" by Michael Enright (Arlington Heights) and William Shotton (Carterville)

Performed by Enright and Shotton

• "Flagrant" by Andrew Smith (Winfield)

Clarinet: Amanda Jackson (Mt. Carmel)

Violin: Benjamin Schantz

Cello: Alexandre Francois III

Piano: William Shotton

Marimba: James Beers (Chester)

Marimba: Donovan Reese (Pickneyville)