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Jazz band features student work
Published 4/1/2013 6:00:00 AM
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Jazz Big Band I and II will play a poetry-based composition for their second spring concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Kimbrough Concert Hall.

Matt Lanka, graduate assistant for jazz studies, will feature a piece of his work in the performance. He has composed four pieces of music that echo poetry.

“Each of my compositions for my final project is based on a poem: Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, The Falling of the Leaves by W.B. Yeats, and Prometheus Unbound by Shelley,"Lanka said.

“The chart we will play on Tuesday is called ‘Prometheus Unbound’ and is based on the lyrical drama written about 1820 by Percy Bysshe Shelley, an Irish Romantic poet,” he said.

In order to compose music based on Prometheus Unbound, Lanka said he treats instruments like different characters.

“They have solos or duets to symbolize monologues/soliloquies or conversations,” he said. “I tried to show action or important plot points by using different textures in the orchestration. I also considered different chords or harmonies to indicate certain characters’ mood or state of mind.”

The concert will also feature a guest pianist, Willis Delony, the barineau professor of keyboard studies and professor of jazz studies at Louisiana State University.

Greg Yasinitsky, director of the school of music, said the music picked for this performance is meant to showcase the guest musician.

“Two arrangements that he is going to be featured on are arrangements that he wrote himself,” he said. “We wanted to build it around what we thought he would be interested in playing.”

Yasinitsky said Delony and the bands won't have long to practice before their performance, but that's the way these performances are done in the music world.

“We've all studied music for a long time,” he said. “We're going to adjust to each other and, boom, we're just going to do it… That's part of what makes live music exciting. You never know exactly what's going to happen.”


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