November 10, 2008

Concert features graduate student’s compositions

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music graduate student, Bill Shotton, has his moment in the spotlight on Wednesday, Nov. 12, as he solos the Emerging Composer concert.

The performance, expected to last about 40 minutes, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall on campus.

Shotton said his musical compositions for this performance are modern, flavored with Eastern and meditative influences. One of the pieces features poetry from Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, a poet Shotton discovered during a trip to India.

“I’ve been interested in the East for a long time,” he said. “I got married in India last year. While there, I found a book of Tagore’s poetry in a little bookshop. Immediately I began thinking how I could compose music for it.”

The performance includes approximately 12 other musicians, including the SIUC Percussion Ensemble, Shotton said.

SIUC’s composer-in-residence, Frank Stemper, coordinates the Emerging Composer concert series. He noted that by the time music students are ready to compose, they have had to study “years of music theory and musicianship,” which he described as the language of music.

“For students, the exposure (they get at an Emerging Composer concert) is nice, but mostly it’s writing some music, giving it to performers and then hearing what they do with what you have written -- it’s a big part of the learning process,” Stemper said. “Music is a performance art, meaning that there is always a difference between what the composer writes and what actually gets performed -- sometimes better, sometimes not. But it is part of the genre.”

This performance is free and open to the public.