Feature Story

A Notable Event

November 19, 2014 – by Jane Suttmeier ’15 and Cole Hatcher

At the spring 2014 composition recital, members of the professional musical group Conundrum played pieces composed by OWU students. Shown working with the musicians are assistant professor Jennifer Jolley (left) and student composers Rob O’Neill, Todd Zuc

At the spring 2014 composition recital, members of the professional musical group Conundrum played pieces composed by OWU students. Shown working with the musicians are assistant professor Jennifer Jolley (left) and student composers Rob O’Neill, Todd Zucker, and Khoa Lam. (Photo by Dakota Parrish ’16)

In this case, it’s a matter of translating theory into practice, practice, practice to ensure the final pieces hit just the right notes.

Ohio Wesleyan students in assistant professor Jennifer Jolley’s music composition class have spent the semester writing their own music pieces for one to four instruments. In addition, they’ve recruited other OWU students to practice and perform their compositions, with the upcoming performances counting as jury/final examination events for those taking the Jemison Auditorium stage.

The free composition concert will be held at 3:15 p.m. November 20 in Sanborn Hall. It will feature four pieces written by OWU students Colin Pietron ’18, Khoa Lam ’16, Jacob Miller ’16, and Alan Klinect ’15.

Klinect, a music education major, says most of his classmates began writing their compositions at the beginning of the semester and finished around a week ago.

Lam says his piece is called “Pedals,” and is written for solo piano. He describes the composition as “light sounding, but can be very dissonant at times.”

Pietron explains that music majors are required to complete a final project after each semester, with the composition and concert counting toward that credit. His piece is written for the violin and contains a lot of rhythms.

“Basically I wanted a shift between ‘happy oblivious’ to ‘intense dramatic’ feelings,” he says.

OWU students will perform their peers’ compositions this week, but previously Jolley also has brought in professional musicians to play the compositions and conduct a master class. The student performers will be Brooke Waite ’17, Kelly Summers ’17, Arie Leffel ’15, ZoAnn Schutte ’16, Chris Brinich ’17, and Jacob Miller, who also is having a work performed in the recital.

Jolley, who joined the OWU faculty in 2012, also is an accomplished composer. In 2013, she was one of five musicians chosen to compete in an “Iron Composer” competition, and she will be composer-in-residence with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in fall 2015.

“Teaching music composition to students gives me the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate both the theoretical and practical side of musical creation,” Jolley says. “In our private lessons, I teach my students how to create potential music, and through this upcoming composition recital, they will learn how to create actual music. When they hear their pieces performed, they can then take that new musical knowledge from the recital performances and apply it to their future pieces.”

Learn more about OWU’s Department of Music.