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Acclaimed vocalist to perform works of composition students
May 1, 2014Tweet
Thanks to a Grammy-winning vocalist, six of the Music Department’s most advanced composition students will see their songs come to life onstage.
Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, a member of the vocal quartet Anonymous 4, will join Assistant Professor of Music Daniel Thomas Davis and other faculty members to perform new works written specifically for her. The concert will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 11, in FA-Casadesus. Tickets are $5 for the general public and free for students.
“This is a unique thing for a music department to offer and the students have risen to the challenge beautifully,” Davis said. “This says that we are a department engaged in collaborative, imaginative and cutting-edge work.”
As a member of Anonymous 4, Horner-Kwiatek has recorded 10 albums and has topped the Billboard classical music charts. The group received a Grammy for Best Classical Music Crossover Album in collaboration with composer Christopher Tin, singing the Irish lament “Caoineadh” on his 2009 album “Calling All Dawns.” Horner-Kwiatek also has worked with composers including Judith Weir, Richard Einhorn, Louis Conti and Andrew Lovett.
“She’s a wide-ranging vocalist who is committed to doing new work,” Davis said. “She is deeply committed to learning the works of emerging composers.”
Davis met Horner-Kwiatek at a recording session in New York City and has performed with her at a number of concerts. The two took part in a seminar/performance at Duke University in 2011 and Davis said he knew he wanted Horner-Kwiatek as a visiting artist when he began at Binghamton University in the fall of 2013.
Horner-Kwiatek first came to campus in late February to assist with Davis’ “New Voices and New Music” class. The seminar for composers and performers allows 16-17 students to create music together in a range of genres from classical to DJ-ing.
“The heart of the first visit was Horner-Kwiatek working on sketches or drafts of (student) compositions written for her,” Davis said. “She learned them quite quickly. In fact, she was on tour and in hotel rooms learning these compositions.”
The student composers whose works will be featured are Richard Hugunine, Joseph Keller, Christian Martin, Daniel Romberger, Emmanuel Sikora and David Schwartz.
“I had heard of Anonymous 4 through a music history class,” said Romberger, a senior from Valley View, Pa. “So to find out that one of its vocalists was coming to Binghamton to perform our compositions was exciting. It’s great that Dan and Jacqui made this come together.”
“She was so professional when she read my piece,” said Martin, a master’s student from Avondale, Ariz., who has earned national honors for his compositions. “She basically read it like someone who picks out a book and reads it to the audience without ever looking at it before. There were no mistakes – there were even nuances and inflections that she did to make it more personal.”
Romberger, who wrote two short pieces that Horner-Kwiatek will perform, was especially impressed with her energy and enthusiasm for the students’ works.
“She is able to speak freely about the voice and articulate the different techniques that she uses,” he said. “She knows exactly what she is doing with her voice.”
Seemingly small details can often be the greatest challenge to completing a composition, Davis and Martin said. For example, a lot of time could be devoted to determining when and how a cello player turns the music pages.
“Little things end up being a big deal even after you’ve had your grand, artistic vision,” Davis said.
“The editing process of any score, no matter what the size, is time-consuming,” Martin said. “Draft after draft, there is always something to change.”
Horner-Kwiatek will be accompanied by a number of Binghamton University music faculty members, including Davis on piano; Georgetta Maiolo on flute; Timothy Perry on clarinet; Margaret Reitz on piano; and Stephen Stalker on cello. Student Joseph Vanderpool will play violin, while Romberger will play theremin. Michael Compitello, director of percussion at Cornell University, will also be featured.
“It’s amazing what this man can do with two or four sticks,” Davis said of Compitello.
Besides the student compositions, Horner-Kwiatek will perform Irish folk music from her native home. Songs written by Davis also will be presented.
“I feel like there is something for everyone in this program,” Davis said. “We have everything from neo-Baroque to a (work) inspired by Middle Eastern music.”
Davis, who hopes to make the visiting artist/student composer project an annual event, called the show a “barn-raising concert” for the Music Department.
“Jacqui is our guest artist, but it’s really about the students and my colleagues in the faculty who are putting this on together,” he said. “It’s a collaborative venture and that excites me as a musician.
“I’m pleased with the work the students have produced and I’m proud of them individually for the level of creativity and invention they have brought to the project.”