Compositions showcases student talents

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Kevin Hall

Mitch Weeakley directs the trumpets in the Student Recital Series: Composers’ Forum Concert Tuesday in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Marcus Curtis, Staff Reporter

James Calderon said now that his big performance as a composer is over, he doesn’t know what to do with his time.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of the semester,” he said.

Calderon, a composition graduate student, talked about his feelings after the performance at Tuesday’s composition forum in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Calderon is one of the several students who constructed musical performances for the forum.

Students in the music department gathered musical pieces from artists of their choice as well as

Taylor Smith, a junior music major, plays the cello in the Student Recital Series: Composers’ Forum Concert Tuesday at the Doudna Fine Arts Center in the Recital Hall. Smith has been playing cello for 10 years.
Kevin Hall
Taylor Smith, a junior music major, plays the cello in the Student Recital Series: Composers’ Forum Concert Tuesday at the Doudna Fine Arts Center in the Recital Hall. Smith has been playing cello for 10 years.

students to help them bring their productions to life.

Calderon said he is relieved that all of the preparations for the show he took are over, but he is also conflicted because he has no other tasks to complete in his area of focus.

“It makes you really grateful, but sad at the same time,” he said.

Among the many pieces was a musical combination of Jonathan Fong’s Asynchronous.

Calderon, who is also a violinist, performed alongside Taylor Smith on the cello and Tyler Harr on the piano.

The first musical number consisted of softly played strings and keys giving off a mellow mood. 

Members of the crowd slightly jumped in their seats after the student musicians played sharp strings from the violins and heavy low tempo keys from the piano.

The sudden change in pitch was the second performance from the musical trio’s second performance of “Wavelengths” originally by musician Lucas Fain.

Despite the quick jump in musical tone, audience members’ eyes were focused on the performance from Calderon, Smith, and Harr.

The sharp high-pitched screeching from the violin and the cello and the low-pitched keys from Harr on the piano were similar to tunes in suspense or a thriller film.

The audience’s reaction remained the same throughout; many had blank expressions, and there were even a few yawns and closed eyes during the performances.

Nevertheless, they applauded at the conclusion of each performance.

Calderon said he tries to choose pieces and musical combinations that will keep the listeners from being bored and possibly from sleeping as a couple of students were.

“I try to write music that anybody who doesn’t have a musical background can enjoy,” he said. 

However, Calderon said his particular performance at Tuesday’s forum called for a classical perspective versus a general one where he could communicate with individuals who prefer listening genres such as pop.

Calderon said his family is part of his influence when he is creating music.

“My family isn’t very musical, or study music like I do, they don’t really listen to the stuff I do,” he said.

He said he tries to focus on music that is not repetitive and extensive to catch the listener’s attention, whether it is something “pretty” or “creepy.”

Calderon said he feels it is very important in creating music that the audience is intrigued with what is being played.

“I think a big part of trying to appeal to the listener is keeping the listener engaged in the first place,” he said.

Marcus Curtis can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]