On Saturday, the first Composers Concert of the year was held in Walker Recital Hall. The concert is the first of two concerts featuring works composed by music students who focus on composition.
Albert Glinsky, Ph.D., Mercyhurst’s composer-in-residence and director of musical composition, opened the concert with a few words. The composition students work closely with Glinsky on their pieces, and he provides crucial guidance and feedback during the composition process.
The evening featured selections from Mary Spinelli’s opera in progress, “The Divine Corruption,” as well as a piece by William J. Petransky, Jr. for chamber orchestra and solo voice.
The concert also doubled as Israel Estrada’s senior recital, and featured several of his original compositions.
The works were performed by students, faculty and alumni, as well as professional musicians from the community.
Mercyhurst students that were featured included junior Liz Zurasky, a soprano, who performed the aria “I’ve Come a Long Way, Sir” from Spinelli’s opera. Freshmen Natalie Pertz and Chris Gaertner performed original choreography by Pertz to “Barn Dance,” another selection from the opera.
Mercyhurst faculty also showed their talents onstage. Tenor Daniel Cabanillas, the director of liturgical music, performed Estrada’s “Tres Poemas de Pablo Neruda,” which featured the poetry of poet Pablo Neruda.
“I think it’s nice to see the work of student composers,” said junior Nikki Zeak.
“Most of the time, you see the performers taking credit for the quality of the performance, but this concert really showcased the huge amount of talent needed behind the scenes to make music great,” she said.
Of course, not only did the concert feature vocal selections, but also several instrumental pieces, including the exciting “Un Baile” for violin, accordion, piano, double bass and electric guitar, as well as the beautiful string quartet “Cuerto No. 1,” both by Estrada.
The concert was a wonderful display of the talent of Mercyhurst composition majors.
“All the performers did really well, and I really enjoyed the entire concert,” said senior Chris Cummings. “My favorite piece was Estrada’s string quartet Cuerto No. 1.”
Overall, the evening was a huge success for all involved, especially the young composers. The second Composers Concert of this school year will be held in May in Walker Recital Hall.