Feature Story

November 9, 2021 | By Sarah Jonassen ’22

Music Coming Alive

Ohio Wesleyan Recital to Feature Original Student Compositions Nov. 18

Students of EunSeok Park will present original pieces at the Composition Studio Recital performed by other Ohio Wesleyan University students and faculty from the Department of Performing Arts.

The free recital will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 in Jemison Auditorium inside Sanborn Hall, 23 Elizabeth St., Delaware.

Tiyinoluwa Olushola-Alao ’23

Student composer Tiyinoluwa Olushola-Alao ’23 said hearing his music performed is a fundamental part of improving his craft.

“Nothing beats the transition from hearing computer-generated soundfonts to the emotive playing of actual human beings,” said Olushola-Alao of Kwara State, Nigeria. “Even though the performers are playing something I wrote, I am physically unable to micromanage their interpretations down to the minute nuances. This ensures that the pieces I write become more ‘alive’ when they are performed.”

Princeton Vaughn ’22 composed the piece “Change” for last year’s fall recital. He said the most exciting part is the revision process after working with live performers.

“Having a piece performed live is a great experience,” said Vaughn of Bowie, Maryland. “In my own experience, I've learned the limitations of performers and have had to dial back some of my ideas because they were too hard to play. I've had to change it on the fly, and I think my pieces became better for it.” 

Finding Their ‘Musical Voice’

The recital is the culmination of months of intensive study and creation. Olushola-Alao spoke about the process of creating his composition.

“I begin by randomly improvising as I'm practicing a certain instrument,” he said. “This serves as a time to brainstorm, so the good is usually lumped in with the bad and ugly. In that exercise of spontaneity, some ideas arise from the pack and stick, while some just fall to the void where they are often never seen again.”

Faculty member Park, D.M.A., guides the students through the composition process by teaching them the fundamentals of music and guiding them as they discover their compositional style.

“The students learn and focus on concrete musical elements like notation, techniques, and instrumentation, and more ingredients like expression, aesthetics, imagination, and inspiration,” Park said. “They study compositions from the old to the most recent contemporary pieces. Through this process, students eventually find out their musical voice.”

Park said the recital is a critical part of his students’ musical development and explained the benefits of live performance.

“The students can learn how to communicate and work with others, especially performers, from preparing the recital,” he said. “The reactions and comments from the audience also can be beneficial to them. Working with others gives us various incredible ideas for the following projects.”

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Performing Arts.