The talent of student composers and performers was the highlight of an evening concert that streamed live from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, on Monday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Crane invited the public to view a streamed performance of the Crane Student Composers Forum, presented from the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. The concert featured two solo performances that were live in Snell, with pre-recorded pieces to allow time for social distancing between works, and then finished with a live trio performance in Snell.
The performance was streamed live on Crane’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
The live solo performances, “AM: a work for solo oboe” and “Autumn Evening,” composed by Dylan Dukat and Kelly Friedmann, respectively, featured Justin Tan on oboe. The pre-recorded performance of “In Search of Comfort,” was composed by Amanda Rizzo, and featured Manya Kester on solo clarinet.
“I finished this piece during the COVID-19 quarantine, and I wanted to represent what I felt during that time,” Rizzo said. “There are moments of uncertainty and obscureness, and there are long, dark passages as well. I felt like I was constantly searching for ways to comfort myself during this difficult time, which is what inspired the title of this piece.”
“Latency,” composed by Peter Oselador, featured the composer on piano, with Alex Malin and Jordan Dreyer on bassoons in a pre-recorded performance.
Tan commissioned the two pieces he performed live on oboe, giving the composers free rein to create their own expression, with the caveat that the pieces reflect a somber reality.
“Friedmann’s piece is short, yet is all about the falling leaves in autumn,” said Tan. “The oscillating lines offer imagery of the falling leaves. The soaring melodic line reminds us of the darker nights that inch towards us. Even though this piece creates the imagery of the sad changing evenings, it is yet hopeful, as this feeling does not last too long – only about two minutes.”
Dukat’s piece is more contemporary, with extended technique. One is the use of multiphonics that is featured throughout the piece. The oboe can only play one note at a time, but using a different fingering, woodwind instruments can play two or more notes at the same time; creating a unique sound like dial-up internet.
“I drew heavily from Harlan Ellison’s haunting short story ‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,’” Dukat said. “In the story, AM — Allied Mastercomputer — is a supercomputer that gains sentience and a hatred for humanity. Its name transforms in meaning, first to Adaptive Manipulator, and finally Aggressive Menace. The theme of the story seems to revolve around unwilling silence in the face of an oppressive ruler.”
To see other upcoming livestreaming performances at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, visit www.potsdam.edu/cranelive.
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.