“New Music At Maryland” concert premiered students’ authentic compositions

Photo by Eliseé Browchuk
Photo by Eliseé Browchuk

On Tuesday evening, undergraduate and graduate students debuted their original compositions for the first time under the dimmed lights of the Gildenhorn Recital Hall at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

The “New Music At Maryland” concert held on Nov. 29 is the culmination of a semester’s long hard work and practice for a talented group of the University of Maryland School of Music’s musicians.

Flutes, clarinets, French horns, vibraphones, and the Steinway and Sons grand piano were all in attendance throughout the night’s six performances.

Sarah Best, a graduate student in the competitive School of Music opera program, opened the event with Pablo Salazar’s “Uyuni.”

“The ‘New Music At Maryland’ concert is a special program because it is the first time the compositions students have been working on all semester are debuted to the public,” said Best.

Dressed in a sleek satin black two-piece, Best shocked the audience with her beautiful vocals and professional range of pitch. The bright red lipstick that outlined her soulful mouth complemented her dramatic performance.

The event drew a crowd of family, friends and faculty to be the first to witness the world premiere of the student’s compositions.

Jenna Gekas, a junior communications major, attended the event to complete a class requirement, but enjoyed the concert beyond the fulfillment of her course obligation.

“I didn’t know there were vocalists as talented as Sarah at this university,” said Gekas. “I bet you will see her starring in an opera concert on television one day.”

When Gekas sat down in the plush concert seats minutes before the lights dimmed, she said she had zero expectations for the event and every performance blew her away.

From baritone T.J. Moeng to beat boxer Samuel Fraser, the recital hall was filled with a variety of melodies and harmonies to suit anyone’s taste in music.

The Daraja Ensemble was the largest musical group of the night comprised of six different instruments including the flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, beat box, and bassoon. The group’s fluid unity resulted in a wonderful and upbeat performance of Ray Field’s “Heavy Wood.”

“The best thing about the [UMD] School of Music is that you are always meeting new people and getting involved with different ensembles,” said Best.

Best said that she met the majority of the “New Music At Maryland” musicians she performed alongside just this semester.

Up next in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall is the Meaningful Connections Chamber Music Concert on Monday, Dec. 5 at 8p.m.

Photo by Eliseé Browchuk
Photo by Eliseé Browchuk

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