Classical music is being revamped by today’s generation of talented and inspired musicians who are eager to take on the challenge of composing. Northwestern is one such place where this kind of talented musician resides, and this weekend NW student musicians will have the chance to share their composing talent in the New Sounds Concert.
Luke Dahn of the music department has organized a new concert series to showcase works by student composers.
Dahn recieved the inspiration for this concert series from the opportunity to celebrate music.
“It’s very important for all young composers to not only hear their works in performance but also share their music,” Dahn said. “There’s no substitute for learning through that process of collaborating with performers.”
He introduced the idea to his students last year and they have been studiously working on pieces ever since.
Music student Andrew Currier, who has already had a piece premiered, will be featured with several pieces he has composed, including a string quartet.Jacob VenHuizen has also composed several piano pieces, which will be played by Kirsten Dunia. Several music faculty members and graduates will be performing in ensembles as well.
“Dahn has helped us to think outside the terms of musical progression,” VenHuizen said. “There are many different paths to go down to explore new ideas.”
VenHuizen has been composing for four years, starting his sophomore year of high school.
“I hum all the time,” VenHuizen said. “Expecially when I’m stocking shelves at Fareway. I take the fragment and flesh it out, repeating it over and over. Then I think about what this fragment is best suited for. Or I’ll fiddle at the piano or sing. Ideas really can come from anywhere.”
Drawing his inspiration from artists such as Morton Lauridson, Brahms, Kaje Runestad, and Ola Gjielo, Ven Huizen admires their ability to craft a piece into something beautiful.
VenHuizen’s pieces, which will be performed at the concert, “Nocturne in G Minor No. 1” and “Prelude in F# Major No. 1,” both took a couple of months to be completed, from fruition to final edit.
Many of the pieces included in the New Sounds concert will also be included in NW’s Day of Learning in what has been named The Cruci Project.
Three prints by artist Eric Robinson have inspired NW composers and writers as well as those in the community to create pieces that depict the Crucifixion. Six composers will be featured, including Dahn with his piece “davon kam der Tod so bald.”
Everyone involved in the creative process encourages students and community members to come to the Day of Learning and the New Sounds Concert.
“Music is nothing if there’s no music,” said Dahn. “It’s about sharing music. There will be something for everyone.”