UMD students perform original compositions for New Music in Maryland

By Freddy Wolfe
For the Diamondback

The University of Maryland spotlighted original compositions in “New Music at Maryland,” a concert featuring works created by student composers, on April 18.

The concert, held at The Clarice’s Gildenhorn Recital Hall, featured original works composed by the music school‘s music composition majors.

The first half of the show consisted of five solo pieces composed by four different students. One such student was Sean Kim, a freshman in cello and music composition.

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“It was definitely a very surreal experience,” Kim said. “It was the first time that my compositions were performed live in front of a very large audience.”

Kim performed her piece “Theme and Variations for Solo Cello” and had her piano composition, “New Beginnings,” performed by graduate piano student Leili Asanbekova at the concert.

“It’s very important for a composer to hear his work played in front of an audience. It’s very important for performers to play new pieces that they don’t necessarily know,” said Professor Thomas DeLio, organizer of the show.

Dennis Erickson, a sophomore in music composition, also performed his own original composition, “Contour,” during the show.

“It was more of an experiment to see how weird I could get with it, but also make it…still palatable,” Erickson said.

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After an intermission, the second half consisted entirely of a five-movement piece composed by lecturer William Kenlon. Kenlon’s composition, “Desire Paths: Chamber Symphony for Double Wind Quintet and Piano”, was his doctoral thesis, which he received from this university in 2017.

Kenlon came up with the idea for the piece after discovering the paths of desire, which in urban planning is a path created by the continuous use of the shortest or most easily navigable route to a destination.

“The piece is my attempt to explore the idea of ​​a path of musical desire, where there is a main idea that makes its way through the piece…even if it is beset by a number of impedances in along the way,” he said.

It was the first time “Desire Paths” was performed live.

Kenlon stressed the importance of this opportunity for young composers to see their work performed.

“Playing your work live is a better teacher than taking any class,” he said. “You’re going to learn a different set of things from performing this than you would learn from just writing it.”

About Madeline J. Carter

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