November 28, 2011

Concert features emerging student composers

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Emerging Composers concert at Southern Illinois University Carbondale highlights a special kind of music student -- the kind whose creative fire goes beyond the framework of notes already on the page, beyond even the ethereal nature of improvisation.  These students want to create new music, and they don’t necessarily want to be the only ones playing it.

The Emerging Composers concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.  This free performance gives the composers a chance to launch their creations in front of an audience, and it gives an audience a chance to encourage the next generation of composers.

Here’s what the emerging composers have to offer:

Riley Tucker (Houghton, Mich.)

Prelude 1, featuring Hyun-Ji Oh on piano.   Tucker is a senior in cinema and photography.

Audra Furh (Columbia)

Thoughts, featuring Jon Goodman on clarinet.  Fuhr is a senior music major.

Rebecca Newburn (Murphysboro)

Valse Sentimentale, featuring Audra Fuhr on horn and Joe Palermo on guitar.  Newburn is a senior music major.

Filip Herbst (Elgin)

Stream and Variations, featuring Herbst himself on guitar.  Herbst is a graduate student.

Ivan Matias (currently of Carbondale)

Simple Flute, featuring Abigale Simoneau on flute and Karen Clayton on piano.  Matias is a sophomore music major.

John McCowen (currently of Carbondale)

Ludes, featuring Jon Goodman and Tim Fitzgerald, bass clarinets.  McCowen is a sophomore music major.

Brandon Kozak (Lemont)

Out, Out featuring Rob Graham, baritone.  Kozak is a senior music major.

Frank Stemper, composer in residence at SIU Carbondale and professor of composition, coordinated this event.  He noted that several of the students had overstepped expectations by composing music for the concert earlier in their advanced music education than strictly required.

“All of the (student composers represented in this concert) seem to be very interested in composing, searching, exploring and learning,” he said. “It is quite an accomplishment to: compose; prepare a score and parts; find musicians to rehearse; and then to premiere their work… I think we will continue to hear from several of these composers over the next few years.”

Stemper said several of the emerging composers will participate in the annual Outside the Box music festival in the spring.

“Going from performing to composing, which is really what every composer has to do, is a big move,” he said.  “Music is a performance art form -- the musicians interpret the composer’s score -- just as the listeners interpret the sounds coming from the musicians.  And then, it’s gone.  It might be recorded, but the real art form of music takes place live.  For a young person to aspire to this is very courageous, especially when the remuneration for this career is limited.”