The January 25 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra concert will feature an unprecedented TWO world premieres by Lawrence student (and former student) composers! The orchestra will perform “All But Inescapable” by Nolan Veldey ’13 and “LUX: Fanfare for Brass” by Evan Williams ’11. At Maestro Más-Arocas’s initiative, there will now be an annual performance of an orchestral composition by a Lawrence student composer on one of the LSO’s regular concerts.
We’re fortunate to have great artistic partnerships at Lawrence: here’s a recording of Maestro David Becker and our good friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra playing Spiral by senior James Fabry ’12. Jim wrote a fantastic piece for the orchestra, and their excellent recording, done in last evening’s rehearsal, is a composer’s dream. Every year one of our advanced composition students is selected for this incredible opportunity. Last year the LSO read Baguettelle by Diana Sussman ’12, and Nolan Veldey ’13 has already finished the short score and begun orchestrating his composition for next year’s LSO reading/recording session.
Listen to Maestro David Becker and the LSO playing James Fabry’s Spiral:
Student blogger: Alex Johnson, class of 2012
The saying “be careful what you wish for” has been a big factor in my senior year of college. Film composing was always something that I wanted to experiment with while at Lawrence, and this year I went from wanting to dabble in film composing to being offered an opportunity to compose an original film score for the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, which they were to perform on a major concert that Maestro David Becker would conduct live to picture. Despite my lack of experience in composing for film, I said—exclaimed—“YES!”
I knew from the beginning that many challenges would present themselves. Luckily, I had a six-week winter break during which I could compose the score to filmmaker Rachel Crowl’s portrait of Lawrence, A Place Transformed. I saw this opportunity not only as an exercise in artistic discipline, but as a peek into the life of a professional composer. I established a daily composing routine and finished a draft score early enough to receive feedback from Professors Sturm, Metcalf and Becker. I returned to campus in January with a completed score. Attending the orchestral rehearsals was unbelievable; for a composer, there is no greater feeling than hearing your music played for the first time by eighty expert musicians. At the concert, anticipation and excitement overflowed as the LSO captured the audience’s attention with their expressive playing to the film.
I learned many different things from this experience, but the most important was just how much I love to compose music. It strengthened my already strong passion for composing and gave me the confidence that I could become a professional composer. So, be careful what you wish for, because if you get it, it may end up being one of the greatest experiences of your life.
Listen to the music for the film A Place Transformed:
Our good friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra will play the music of student composer Alexander Johnson ’12 in their February 3 LSO Goes to the Movies concert. The orchestra will perform Alex’s film score A Place Transformed live to picture at 8:00 p.m. in Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Alex has promised to write a blog post for us after the event about the process of composing the music and collaborating with filmmaker Rachel Crowl. In the meantime, you can join us on Friday night for the live webcast—or if you can’t make it then, a stream of the concert will be posted on the webcast page shortly thereafter.
We have great collaborative partnerships with our large ensembles, including Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Wind Ensemble and the Lawrence Choirs.
David Werfelmann ’06 received his M.Mus. from Indiana University at Bloomington in 2009 and is now a student in the doctoral program in composition at USC. David did a double major in theory/composition and percussion at Lawrence and graduated with honors cum laude for his film score for The Black Pirate. Several conservatory faculty worked on that project, including myself, Professor Fred Sturm (Jazz Studies), and Professor David Becker (Lawrence Symphony Orchestra). For his senior recital, David assembled and conducted an orchestra of nearly sixty students musicians who provided live accompaniment for the film.
David’s recital also featured four pieces of chamber music that he composed in the Lawrence composition studio, including the exciting, energetic Hypercolors for saxophone quartet. Listen to Hypercolor I, played by members of the Lawrence saxophone studio.
Thanks to our partnership with our friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, every year we are able to read an orchestral work by an advanced composition student.
Unfolding for orchestra was played on the senior recital of Devin Burke ’04, a double-degree student who received a B.Mus. in Theory/Composition and B.A. in Anthropology. He describes the inspiration for the gradually developing, unfolding nature of the music as the stop-motion photography of flowers showing the gradual opening and closing of flowers with all the unique stages in between. Devin completed his M.A. in composition at UC Santa Barbara and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at Case-Western Reserve University.
Professors Joanne Metcalf and Asha Srinivasan and the composers of Lawrence University Conservatory of Music welcome you! We created this blog to share the excitement of composition at Lawrence with young composers everywhere. Find music by our students and recent graduates in the Listen category and music by faculty on the Faculty page.