Sunday, May 22, 2022

College of Music concert series returns, showcasing composers

October 22, 2021
<p>Show left to right, composers include Florence Price, Rebecca Clarke, Huahua Gong, Jianzhong Wang, Michiru Oshima, and Somei Satoh. Courtesy of Michael Sundermann.</p><p><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/></p>

Show left to right, composers include Florence Price, Rebecca Clarke, Huahua Gong, Jianzhong Wang, Michiru Oshima, and Somei Satoh. Courtesy of Michael Sundermann.

For more than a decade, the College of Music has put on the West Circle Series — concerts that showcase the University’s artists. 

The first concert in the series, “Lift Every Voice” is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairchild Theatre.

“(Lift Every Voice) is featuring music of underrepresented composers,” piano professor and West Circle Series Coordinator Deborah Moriarty said.

Faculty, including Moriarty, will perform, as well as an African Diaspora Percussion Ensemble of students. 

“The first concert is an eclectic concert,” Moriarty said. “Usually what we have is a concert guide, and this concert we’re having a storyteller.”

Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker will be the storyteller for “Lift Every Voice,” Moriarty said.

“Each performer will be telling a story from their lives about who they are, and some of them, how they got into music,” Moriarty said. “And we’ll be featuring a picture of them.”

During the concert, the audience will get background information about the performers they would not find in a biography.

“One of the strange things, often, about classical music is people come on stage and they play — and of course music is a language; we speak through what we say musically — but (audience members) don’t often times get a chance to hear us speak or to get a sense of who we are,” Moriarty said.

This is the second “Lift Every Voice” concert, and the first of four in the West Circle Series. 

Following “Lift Every Voice,” there will be three additional concerts in the series. 

“Bach in the USA” on Monday, Dec. 6 is about composer Johann Sebastian Bach, his lineage and Baroque-era music. “Happy Birthday Mozart” on Monday, Jan. 24 celebrates the birthday of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “Legends” on Monday, April 4 is a concert and multimedia experience that examines a correlation between classical and modern-day video game music.  

All concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairchild Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased online. Student tickets are $7, senior tickets are $15 and adult tickets are $17.

Moriarty said the West Circle Series is unique because it features different ensembles on the same program. 

“It would be an incredibly expensive thing to do at a professional concert series,” Moriarty said. “To have all of these people play, and all of these different groups play, is really only possible at a university. … We have a wonderful faculty who likes to work together, and likes to perform together, so this gives us the opportunity to do this kind of concert series.”

Since the Wharton Center has shifted its focus to Broadway, Moriarty said the College of Music is mainly responsible for providing the greater East Lansing area with chamber music.

“There’s a need for it,” Moriarty said. “People love it and it’s a much more intimate kind of music, and Fairchild Theatre — where we perform — is a much smaller venue, so you’re really much closer to the performers.”

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