Student composers featured at Composers Concert

Jill Barrile photo: Freshmen Ethan Dovensky and Beau Miller perform a selection by Freshman Luke Allport-Cohoon.Jill Barrile photo: Freshmen Ethan Dovensky and Beau Miller perform a selection by Freshman Luke Allport-Cohoon.
Last Saturday night, the D’Angelo Department of Music held its annual spring composer’s concert at 8 p.m.

Presented in Walker Recital Hall, the repertoire of the concert consisted entirely of original pieces by Mercyhurst students.

To have the opportunity to participate in such a concert, students must have previously participated in a composition class under the direction of Albert Glinsky, Ph.D., director of the composition program in the D’Angelo department of music.

In a student-teacher collaboration, the program opened with “Five Variations on a Theme.” A transfixing melodic work conceived by student composer Lydia Struble, it was performed on the piano by Erik Meyer, a professor of music theory and solfeggio.

One of the benefits of an intimate collegiate music conservatory such as the D’Angelo Department of Music is that students receive numerous opportunities throughout the year to hone their craft.

Sophomore Kirstan Orgel was “thoroughly impressed with the skills of both student composers and performers. The concert showcased the talent and versatility of our music students here at Mercyhurst. It is a privilege to study and grow alongside all of them,” she said.

In “Daddy’s a Religious Man,” junior Marie Karbacka sang the prophetic aria from “The Divine Corruption,” an original opera in progress by senior Mary Spinelli.

Spinelli details that the aria is “sung by the female protagonist whose father is abusive and uses religion as his justification. If she doesn’t pray every night, she is beaten.”

When asked how it was to sing an original work, Karbacka explains that “it was a wonderful benefit to have the presence of the composer (Spinelli) to work with and receive feedback from. It is unlike learning a piece without that creative element of interpretation,” she said.

In their progressive study of the elements of classical music, students were able to make years of musical study applicable through the creation of their own original compositions.

The concert conveyed diversity through the varying works by the different composers and artistry in the imaginative inspiration behind each work as each was unlike the one before it.

Junior Lindsey Nikithser says the concert “displayed the talent here at Mercyhurst. The music was so diverse and enjoyable, there was never a dull moment.”

The concert featured original pieces by student composers Luke Allport-Cohoon, Israel Jonatan Estrada, Nathan Katus, Kayla Marie Nash, William J. Petransky Jr., Mary Spinelli and Lydia Struble.