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Bach and box fans: A weekend of student recitals

Hunter Prueger (‘18) plays his soprano saxophone into a box fan for his composition recital.

Hunter Prueger (‘18) plays his soprano saxophone into a box fan for his composition recital.

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Hunter Prueger (‘18) plays his soprano saxophone into a box fan for his composition recital.

Olivia Enquist, Staff Writer

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For many music majors, minors, and enthusiasts, junior and senior year marks the onset of student recitals. These recitals are usually hour-long events that are either performed in tandem with another musician or by oneself. This past weekend, a total of 10 students performed music recitals in the Noble Recital Hall.

The students who performed were Sarah Lodge (‘19), Abigail Korenchan (‘19), Hunter Prueger (‘18), Gabrielle Bruns (‘19), Samuel Naumann (‘19), Gabrielle Laske (‘18), Peter Mathistad (‘19), Devin Hedlund (‘18), Miranda Poncelet (‘18), and Iloria Phoenix (‘18).

Trumpet player Lodge and vocalist Korenchan combined their junior recitals on Friday, Nov. 3. Lodge described how musical repertoire selection is a significant part of the preparation.

“I didn’t know what pieces I was going to play until about the second or third week of classes, which gave me roughly two months to put together my part of the recital,” Lodge said. “‘Legend’” by Georges Enesco was my fall jury piece last year and my favorite of my recital. It’s one of the most difficult pieces I’ve played in my career, and I was really glad to show everyone how much time I spent on it and how hard I worked on it.”

Korenchan described the joy of being able to host a recital after the amount of time spent perfecting the pieces.

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips
Gabielle Bruns (‘19) plays her viola in her junior recital with Samuel Naumann (‘19).

“Giving a recital is an invigorating and super exciting experience,” Korenchan said.“I’ve spent the better part of this semester so far working in collaboration with my pianist. The time I’ve spent preparing for it is astounding, so it really warms my heart to look at my phone hours after the performance and find it full of messages and texts from friends and family saying how proud they were and what a lovely recital it was.”

Lodge performed pieces by composers including Alexander Arutunian, Georges Enesco, Fisher A. Tull, and Herbert L. Clarke. Korenchan performed vocal pieces by artists such as Samuel Barber, George Frideric Handel, Vincenzo Bellini, and Franz Schubert. Cynthia Heck (‘19) accompanied both Lodge and Korenchan.

“One of my favorite things about the recital process overall was that I got to share this big event with one of my best friends, Abigail Korenchan,” Lodge said. “Some people do their recitals with people they’ve never really interacted with before, but I was so lucky to get to go through it with one of my favorite people.”

Prueger gave his senior composition recital on Saturday, Nov. 4. His recital consisted of six pieces and featured 26 collaborative student musicians. To prepare for his recital, Prueger composed all of his pieces by Oct. 1 and contacted all of the musicians that he wanted to have play in his recital. Once rehearsals with the musicians started, Prueger noticed new aspects of his music that he could not have heard in the composition process.

“Having five pieces performed [live], I learned a lot about rehearsal strategies and writing parts that are easy to play, follow, and get cues for,” Prueger said. “Every time you write a piece, you will have people ask you questions about what you mean by a marking. Or people will tell me a part is not possible.”

Because his pieces were composed over a span of months, including “Where Storms and Stars Come From,” a piece composed last summer during his time in Italy at the International Music Festival of the Adriactic, each piece contained a special meaning.

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips
Rachel Schwabenbauer (‘19) plays her flute in “Gallium-71” during Hunter Prueger’s (‘18) composition recital.

During the recital, Prueger transformed everyday objects and sounds in his composition recital. One piece highlighted the use of box fans along with a saxophone quintet. Another composition featured melodica and a vibraphone that had an upside down snare drum with a crotale on it as well as coins taped to the bars. This piece, titled “Smoke and Vapors,” was Prueger’s response to having been told that the melodica was a “fake instrument.”

Bruns on viola and Naumann on cello also performed their recital on Saturday, Nov. 4. Bruns described her preparation process as a way to help overcome performance anxiety.

“I picked out my recital repertoire right when I returned to campus this fall, with the help of my instructor,” Bruns said. “In order to prepare for the performance, I’ve been giving lots of ‘mini performances’ in my viola seminar, as well as playing for people in the practice rooms. It has really helped to ease my performance nerves.”

In the recital, Bruns performed songs by composers including Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Fuchs, and Alexander Nagy. Naumann performed songs by composers including Bach, Edouard Lalo, and Dmitri Shostakovich. They ended their recital by performing an excerpt of “Op. 11 Molto Adagio” by Samuel Barber. This allowed the two performers to play together in a quarter, which also featured Fiona Edberg (‘18) and Elizabeth Swartley (‘20).

“One of my favorite parts of the recital was coming on stage after Sam and I had finished our last piece, and everyone started cheering for us,” Bruns said. “It really made the whole process worth it for me.”

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