Caffrey and Hecking

Music composition majors Joseph Caffrey (left) and Steven Hecking will have their works performed by the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony tonight (March 24) at the second annual NEOSonicFest event at Cleveland State University's Waetjen Auditorium.


Works by Wooster Students Chosen for Cleveland Chamber Symphony’s ‘Young and Emerging Composers’ Event

Independent Study Compositions by senior and junior are two of just five to be performed this evening

24 March, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — College of Wooster music composition majors Steven Hecking and Joseph Caffrey have had works selected for performance and recording by the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony (CCS). The new works will be performed as part of the second annual NEOSonicFest at the Chamber Symphony's "Young and Emerging Composers" event this evening (March 24) at Cleveland State University's Waetjen Auditorium (2121 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland) at 7:30 p.m.

Hecking, a senior from Greenville, Pa., and Caffrey, a junior from Bridgeville, Pa., were two of only five student composers from area colleges and universities selected to participate in the event, which will feature performances of all five compositions conducted by CCS Music Director Steven Smith.

Students of Jack Gallagher, the Olive Williams Kettering Professor of Music at Wooster, Hecking and Caffrey completed the works as part of their portfolios in composition for Independent Study (Wooster's nationally acclaimed undergraduate research experience).

Hecking's work, titled "Immortal Renewal," is the third movement of a three-part composition titled "Collapse and Resurrection," inspired by Norse myths concerning the apocalypse, or "Ragnarök." According to Gallagher, Hecking's work "is energetic, bracing, rhythmic. and colorful, utilizing the wind instruments to particularly imaginative advantage." Caffrey's composition, titled "Thinking," says Gallagher, "is introspective, ruminative, and melancholy, incorporating evocatively expressive glissandi (ornamental sliding effects) as well as a thoughtful soliloquy for the harp." Each work was composed during the current academic year, and is the first original orchestral piece by either composer.

In addition to studies with Gallagher, Hecking, a member of the Wooster Chorus, has studied choral conducting with Wooster faculty member Lisa Wong and horn with adjunct Wooster faculty member C. David Lueschen. He has been a music department tutor for music theory and history, and served during his sophomore year as one of three Drum Majors of the Scot Marching Band. He also is a choral scholar at St. James Episcopal Church in Wooster, and recently completed choral work to a text of William Butler Yeats that was commissioned and premiered March 15 by the Perrysville Chorale. Hecking's Senior Composition Recital, scheduled for April 12 at 4 p.m. in Gault Recital Hall of the Scheide Music Center (125 E. University St.) at The College of Wooster will include "Mischief" for wind quintet, "Metamorphosis" for unaccompanied chorus, and "Collapse and Resurrection" for chamber orchestra. He will perform as a hornist in the first work and will conduct the final two works.

Caffrey, a double major in composition and percussion performance, studies percussion with adjunct Wooster faculty member Thomas Roblee. He has performed as a member of Scot Symphonic Band and the Scot Marching Band, the Wooster Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Percussion Ensemble, as Pipe Band drummer, and with the Wooster Singers. Hecking and Caffrey plan to continue composition studies through graduate school and, possibly, to teach at the college level.

Admission to the NEOSonic performance in Cleveland is $10 suggested donation for the general public, and $5 for students.