Creative thought at its musical best

Posted by Samantha Hoffman

Have you ever wondered what your music major friends are up to when they disappear for hours at a time?

While some may be rehearsing for that always-looming senior recital, others have been composing to their musical hearts' content in the far-away land of the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

Skidmore's motto, "Creative Thought Matters" truly came alive within the walls of the Ladd Concert Hall in Zankel the afternoon of Dec. 4, when seven young composers presented world premieres of no less than 12 original compositions.

The featured compositions ran the gamut from a traditional string quartet to an experimental 13-instrument piece to a trio for violin, viola and an Apple computer.

If that list of vastly varying instrumentation isn't impressive enough, the range of explored styles should be noted as well.

 This program would have pleased most any audience member; whether his or her interests included soulful jazz, classical piano, intricate electric guitar, flamenco-inspired classical guitar, or a multitude of other styles, he or she would not have left this concert disappointed.

Each and every composition exhibited true inspiration and a commendable effort on the part of the composers. While some compositions did reveal the inexperience of the young writers, others could have tricked anyone into believing musical veterans composed them.

A few compositions were so intriguing I wouldn't mind importing them into my iTunes library.

One of the most memorable compositions was "Loose Strings," a piece for classical guitar and string quartet written by Aaron Haas '11.

The first movement for solo guitar exhibited a fusion of flamenco-inspired elements, classic rock-inspired elements and very impressive technique.

The third movement was also incredibly fun to listen to, at times reminiscent of the music one might find in a Spanish dance club.

Another standout composition was the string quartet "Words" composed by Ben Mickelson '12. A sense of urgency was immediately established, which remained an underlying force throughout the entire piece.

Each instrument's part had compelling moments and together they all told an intricate and captivating story.

Unfortunately, the audience was sparsely filled for the recital and much of the Skidmore community missed out on the outpouring of creativity that the composers offered.

Not only did the music exhibit the students' creative juices, the enigmatic program notes written by the composers presenting tidbits such as "Why won't drum burn the carpet?," "Clarinet discourages Dixieland around the automobile" and "The competitive powder mends the evidence below a just chaos,"  showed another facet of their imaginations.

Congratulations to Bobby Burch '12, Julia Cox '12, Joanna Schubert '12, Stefan Schonsheck '12, Ben Mickelson, Aaron Haas and Aaron Wallace '12 for a job well done!

First-year thought matters: FYE students exhibit projects a semester in-the-making

What is in store for Zankel?: Examining the potential of the Music Center as a cental building on campus