School of Music hosts three days of concerts, enlightening events

The Sam Houston State University School of Music is hosting their 44th Annual Contemporary Music Festival on this Wednesday through Friday, April 5-7. This event is one of the longest running music festivals in Texas and is designed to feature the best in new American music.

This year’s featured composer is Donald Grantham, professor of composition at the University of Texas at Austin. Grantham is the recipient of numerous awards including the Prix Lili Boulanger, the Nissim/ASCAP Orchestral Composition Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Citation from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, among many others. His works have been performed by the Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta and the American Composers Orchestra, as well as hundreds of college and high school ensembles. Professor Grantham will be on campus for the entire event.

The Festival includes several events of interest. On Wednesday, April 5 in the SHSU Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m., there will be a Student Composition Concert. This concert will feature eight works from five of SHSU’s top undergraduate and graduate composition students. Performances will include that of soloists, ensembles of various sizes, electronic media and even wine glasses. The concert will also feature the announcement of the winner of the 3rd Annual Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fisher Tull Composition Contest. This award, named for the late former chairman of the department of music and distinguished professor of music and sponsored by the local Zeta Mu chapter of America’s largest and most prestigious music fraternity (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia), is given out annually to the top student composition at SHSU.

On Thursday, April 6 in the SHSU Recital Hall at 2:30 p.m., there will be a concert featuring Solo and Chamber Music.

This concert will feature two works by featured composer Donald Grantham, two works by Professor Randolph Partainand the premiere of a orchestral piece written in memory of the late Dimebag Darrell (of the rock bands Pantera and Damageplan) by graduate student Daniel M. Pfannstiel, among several other works.

On the same day in music building room 217 at 4:00 p.m., there will be a Composition Master Class with Donald Grantham. At this program, the honored professor and composer will present a composition master class during which he will use works of SHSU student composers to provide valuable insights into the compositional process.

Also on Thursday, April 6 in Killinger Auditorium of the Criminal Justice Center at 7:30 p.m., the Showcase Concert No. 1 will take place. This concert will feature chamber works by two SHSU music professors (John Crabtree and Dr. Kyle Kindred) and modern works for brass. The featured performers are the SHSU Faculty Brass Quintet (Randy Adams and Steve Warkentin playing trumpets, Dr. Peggy DeMers playing the horn, Dr. Henry Howey playing the trombone and Robert Daniel playing the tuba).

On Friday, April 7 in the SHSU Recital Hall at 2:30 p.m. there will be another showcase of Solo and Chamber Music. This concert will feature performances by Professors Melisa Rose playing the cello, Kathy Daniel playing the flute, Patricia Card on the clarinet, several guest performers and the SHSU Chamber Orchestra.

Also on Friday in Music Building Room 202 at 4:00 p.m. will be a lecture by Donald Grantham. At this program, the featured composer will present a lecture on some of his many and varied works, including two of his newest works for choir. In Killinger Auditorium of the Criminal Justice Center at 7:30 p.m. that evening will be the Showcase Concert No. 2. This culminating event will feature an SHSU Faculty Chamber Ensemble, the SHSU Percussion Ensemble (under the direction of Professor Tim Maynard) and the SHSU Wind Ensemble (under the direction of Professor Matthew McInturf). Four works by Donald Grantham will be performed, among several other works by SHSU faculty composers and the top composers of modern era.

All events are free and open to the general public. More information can be found at contmusfest/ or by contacting the Festival Coordinator Dr. Trent Hanna, Chair of the Theory/Composition Department at 936-294-1372.

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