High-Profile Performances for Wooster’s Senior Composers

WOOSTER, Ohio — Three College of Wooster seniors (Frederick Evans, Cara Haxo, and Jordan Key), each majoring in music composition, have had original works chosen for high-profile performances by several of Wooster’s major music ensembles.

April 9, 2013 by John Finn
Senior Composers

Senior Composition majors (left to right) Frederick Evans, Cara Haxo, and Jordan Key recently had their works performed by major ensembles at The College of Wooster.

WOOSTER, Ohio — Three College of Wooster seniors, each majoring in music composition, have had original works chosen for high-profile performances by several of Wooster’s major music ensembles.

Frederick Evans of Clinton, N.Y., and Cara Haxo of Haydenville, Mass., recently had compositions performed by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra at its concert in March, while Jordan Key of Roanoke, Va., had a composition performed during the recent Spring Tour of the Scot Symphonic Band. An additional work from Key’s Senior Independent Study (I.S.) project will be performed by the Wooster Chorus during the College’s Commencement Concert on Sunday, May 12, in McGaw Chapel.

Evans’ “Thanatopsis,” titled after a poem by William Cullen Bryant, was premiered by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Lindberg, at a concert featuring music by living American composers. One of three works submitted for his Senior I.S., “Thanatopsis” was awarded second place in the recent 2013 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Student/Collegiate Composers Contest. In addition, Evans’ “Early Winter” for fixed electronics, composed under the supervision of Wooster music faculty member Peter Mowrey, was selected by the professional Verb Ballets company for three performances at the Cleveland Public Theater. In reviewing the work for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, critic Donald Rosenberg noted “Frederick Evans' pointillistic music, full of bell sounds, adds glistening detail to (choreographer Leslie) Miller's sleek invention.”

Haxo’s “UNLESS” was also premiered by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra. Inspired in part by “The Lorax,” an environmental cautionary tale by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), “UNLESS” is “a dark, ruminative narrative featuring the bass clarinet’s lowest register to evoke somber reflection and exhortation,” according to Haxo’s advisor, Jack Gallagher. Also in March, Haxo’s “The Giving Tree” for saxophone quartet, composed for and premiered by the acclaimed PRISM Quartet at Symphony Space in New York City, was performed at the 2013 Region 5 Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance at Bowling Green State University. The College’s Eleventh-Hour Saxophone Quartet, directed by adjunct music faculty member Karen Gardener, performed the work at the conference. “The Giving Tree” and additional compositions by Haxo will be performed at her Senior Composition Recital on Sunday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Gault Recital Hall of the Scheide Music Center.

Key’s “Nuages au-dessus de l-Abbaye” (“Clouds Above the Abbey”) for solo flute and wind ensemble was performed by the Scot Symphonic Band, conducted by Nancy Ditmer, during the band’s recent Spring Tour, which included a concert in the composer’s hometown. Described by Gallagher as “a lyrical, idyllic work transparently scored for winds and percussion,” “Nuages” evokes the uniquely calm ethos of a French monastery as experienced by Key during a month of I.S. research and study at The Abbey of St. Pierre in Solesmes, France, in the summer of 2012. The work will be performed again by the Scot Band on Thursday, May 2, at noon in Gault Recital Hall. A second work, titled “Salve Regina,” from Key’s Senior I.S. will be premiered by The Wooster Chorus, directed by Lisa Wong, at Wooster’s Commencement Concert, on Sunday, May 12, at 8:15 p.m. in McGaw Chapel.

Gallagher described Evans, Haxo, and Key as having been “exemplary I.S. students of uncommon dedication and distinction during the creation of their Senior I.S. portfolios. It has been an honor to see their work mature in ambition, depth, and stature during this process and throughout their four years at the College.” Each of the three students plans to continue composition studies at the graduate level next year.