In the space of a week during April, two composers visited Cairn University to share with students and guests about the creative process of writing music. On April 12, 2013, Judith Lang Zaimont gave a composition masterclass and lecture before her work was performed in that evening’s Symphony Orchestra concert. On April 16, 2013, Raoul Pleskow, who recently donated many of his scores, letters, and recordings to the Masland Library at Cairn University, was hosted on campus by the School of Music and the Center for University Studies for a performance of several of his works and an interview with him.
Professor Zaimont’s masterclass focused on the work of current student Ryan Carson ’13 (Music Composition) and alumnus Joshua Devine ’09 who is working on his M.M. in Music Composition at Temple University. Her lecture, “Imaging the Composer Today: Clear-eyed view of the emotional payoffs, artistic decisions and fulfillments, and economic perils that characterize the career of a composer in the 21st century,” examined composition in the current era, from pop music to art music. Prior to the evening’s Symphony Orchestra Concert, Living Color, Professor Zaimont gave a short preview as a part of the “Touching the Sound” series of pre-concert chats. Living Color focused on the work of four modern composers, three of whom are still living, and included Judith Lang Zaimont’s Chroma: Northern Lights.
The concert highlighting Raoul Pleskow’s music was a more intimate event in which Cairn music majors were able to hear from the composer his thoughts on the particular pieces being performed. A suite of pieces in honor of the late Dr. Samuel Hsu, a personal friend of Pleskow, Maestro Hsu: His Pavane, His Fantasy, and His Elegy, was performed on piano by Ephraim Schäfli ’12. Another piece, Zwei Albumblätter für Marshall, was performed by Affiliate Artist Marshall Taylor, saxophone, also a personal friend of the composer.
The School of Music and the Center for University Studies were pleased to host these distinguished guests on campus and introduce them to the student body and friends of Cairn University.