From Bach to Irish Fiddle Tunes: Student Artist Recital

Wittenberg community members gathered in Krieg Hall to hear the music of the four musicians performing at the student artist recital last Wednesday.

The drawn curtains over the rear windows let only minimal light into the recital hall that regularly hosts this recurring musical event. The dimly lit room in concert with the overhead spotlight created an intimate setting for the recital.

The first of the four performers was clarinetist, Jillian Poska (’21). She began the concert with a mysterious and dramatic piece by composer, Alan Hovhaness.

“I like it because it lets me demonstrate my strengths in musicality and playing in the lower register,” Poska said.

Poska, a biochemistry major and a music minor, has been playing the clarinet since the fourth grade. She explained that her performed piece was recommended to her by her clarinet instructor. As a member of the Wittenberg Symphonic Band, Poska said that “American Elegy” by Frank Ticheli is her favorite piece to be performed by an ensemble. She is currently working on a treasured solo for her Spring Jury—an adjudicated performance required for music majors and minors.

Following Poska’s solo was a duet performed by cellist Annemarie Brier (’21) and Professor and Music Audition Coordinator, Daniel Kazez. Brier, a music education major, has been playing the cello for 12 years. She performed the third movement of Vivaldi’s second sonata; a slow yet beautiful piece with a melodic opening. Brier explained how she was happy to be playing her cello again as the aftermath of a car accident prevented her from performing this piece last semester.

Succeeding a round of applause, attendees received a taste of Ireland as soloist Molly Moran (’22) performed a lively selection of fiddle music. Audience members watched as Moran smiled and tapped her foot along to the beat of three Irish tunes. Moran, a sophomore music education major, has been playing the fiddle for nearly seven years. She explained that the selection she composed included some of her favorite jam session tunes: “Calliope House,” St. Anne’s Reel” and “The Mason’s Apron.” On top of her impressive performance, this year Moran has embarked on a challenge to upload a new fiddle tune to her Facebook page every day. Check out her daily uploads @mollymoranmusic.

The final performance of the recital was by pianist Zachary Howe (’22). Howe played a lengthy piece by famed musician Johann Sebastian Bach entitled “The Goldberg Variations.” This seminal piece included a variety of tempos, repeating melodies and examples of dissonance—the clash that results from playing two disharmonious notes.

Following a round of applause, many audience members stood to converse with the musicians and express their admiration for their performances. Professor and Department Chair, Brandon Jones, was especially pleased with the variety of pieces showcased at the recital.

“I continue to be proud of the work our music students are doing and the excellent instruction they receive,” Jones remarked. “This breadth and depth of literature and the high level with which it was performed was an encapsulation of the musicianship of our students.”

Later this month, the Wittenberg Choir, Wittenberg Singers and the Wittenberg Symphonic band will be teaming up to perform a preview concert for prospective music students. This overnight event is intended to demonstrate the variety of music ensembles available for students at Wittenberg. The Wittenberg Symphonic band will be performing tunes from the preview concert, as well as a few other pieces in Weaver Chapel for their Spring Concert at 7:30 on Friday Feb. 21. March is yet another popular month for the music department with a student artist recital, a horn quartet, two faculty artist recitals and multiple senior music recitals.

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