Sounds New XXIV Concert, Student Composers Concert

Samantha Jenkins, Arts Staff

         The Stetson University School of Music is known for producing highly talented performers, but their student composers are equally as successful. Some of these compositions had the opportunity to be debuted on Oct. 29 in Lee Chapel. These compositions were performed by other members of the School of Music incorporating different instruments and a varying number of performers. The student composers were Travis Maynard (‘22), Gracie Caggiano (‘21), Adam Cole (‘22), and Luis Quiroz (‘23). “I’m super excited to see Adam and Luis’ pieces, since I know them and it’s awesome to see a freshman composer,” Katherine McAllen (‘23) said. Many underclassmen populated the audience, ready to cheer on their classmates in this exciting opportunity. 

         The first piece was composed by Maynard and was written for a quintet, titled, “Quintet”. As Maynard stated in his opening speech, it is a piece that incorporates a lot of romantic themes with lyrical sections. The instruments included four strings and one clarinet, and was also led by a Stetson student composer. 

         The second, by Caggiano, was performed by a solo viola and entitled “Jasmine.” This piece consists of two movements, the first more lyrical and moving and the second more rhythmic with variations on style. The solo viola gave a blissful tone to the piece.

         The third piece was a complex piano piece by Quiroz. The pianist, Abbey Brodnick (‘23), conquered the challenging piece as if she had been playing it her entire life. This one called “Phoenix”, also had two movements. The first consisted of a similar melodic theme played across the key, with impressive movements for Brodnick and a solid theme from Quiroz. The second movement was purposefully more exciting, taking its ideas from a phoenix newly risen from the ashes and going on its first flight. Full of tempo variations, dynamic changes, and complicated rhythms, it lived up to its inspiration. 

         The last piece involved piano, cello, clarinet, and flute, and was titled “Quest,” by Cole. This one had three movements, and each movement was based on a different type of quest, with the tone of each reflecting the nature of that type of quest. The first movement was inspired by self-interest and greed, so the music was conflicting, jarring, and had a darker tone. The second was about survival, so was dark and persistent in tone and melody. The last was about freedom, with bold styles and hopeful tones. 

         The concert ended with a standing ovation and a bow from all the composers and performers. Presley Fiore (‘23) commented, “I was very impressed with what the composition students have created. Writing music isn’t easy but they do really well.” The next event in the Sounds New series will feature the Amernet String Quartet on Nov. 12.