WAVE Magazine Fall 2018 JU_WaveMag_Fall18_2 - Page 39

" This is one of the most vibrant times for the Field of music, with more composers and More genres than any other time in history. With the access and flexibility of the Internet, And modern social concepts, any genre, style, or nationality of music is welcomed.” - Daniel Farrell Since that unforgettable moment, Watkins has performed the work a dozen times, for varied audiences, including March 19, 2017, in JU’s Terry Concert Hall; May 23, 2017, at the San Jose Woman’s Club; and twice on May 4, 2018, in Wahoo. Those concerts were held in downtown Wahoo and in the birthplace of Howard Hanson on the composer’s own piano in Saunders County. The Numbers Behind the Major A discovery like the lost Hanson composition begs the question: are universities producing musicians like Hanson today? According to the last U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics count, nearly 75,000 people across the nation are employed as composers and/or music directors. Florida is among a handful of states with higher concentrations of such jobs. Area newspapers in Saunders reported that, though the majority of Wahoo residents did not realize how well-respected and admired the composer continues to be nearly 40 years after his death, there is now a growing awareness. Watkins will perform the piece at the University of Nebraska this fall, plans for a Howard Hanson music festival in Nebraska are underway, a 100th anniversary New York premiere has been slated for October 2019, and the once-lost composition has since been published by Carl Fischer Music. Watkins' name appears on the sheet music as editor. Inside the industry, there are standouts, those listed as the hottest young composers in the U.S. right now—Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Mason Bates, Judd Greenstein, Gabriel Kahane. The question in higher education circles then becomes: will students continue to pursue degrees in this niche within the music world? Are universities doing enough to inspire and engage another generation of great composers? The remaining challenge is how to capture a true portrait of the 19-year old professor/ composer/pianist/theorist who would later create seven orchestral works, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning Symphony No. 4 Op. 34, Requiem, as well as numerous choral, band, chamber, and solo piano pieces, and even an opera. Merry Mount (1934), widely considered the first thoroughly American opera, was set in, composed by, based on a story by, and performed by Americans. “Nobody really comprehends what he did before Eastman. While at Eastman, every time Hanson stepped out for lunch, it was documented. Where he went, what time he left, with whom he went, what time he returned—all recorded. But before that, very little is known. I'm trying to establish the formation of Howard Hanson,” said Dr. Scott Watkins “It's virtually unheard of for a university of our size to have a vibrant fine arts and composition program,” Watkins says. “Student-centric concerts are one of the diamonds in our crown. Each year a student receives the Delius Award and is commissioned to compose something that will be rehearsed and performed by our symphony orchestra.” Recent JU alumnus and winner of the prestigious Delius Award, Daniel Farrell ‘18, was a critical part of the Hanson discovery and publication process. Watkins says, “Daniel and I went over it a few times and he made a digital version ready for print.” Meanwhile, Watkins approached the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, seeking permission to submit for publication. Farrell earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Theory, studying under Professor of Composition and Music Theory Dr. Jian Jun He and George ‘Tony’ Steve. He graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors and earned the Fred Noble Award in Scholarship. Farrell’s work was most recently featured in the Jacksonville Short Film Festival and his first international debut occurred during a 10-day Valencia International Performance Academy and Festival (VIPA) this past July in Spain. “Hanson’s romantic and conservative approach speaks to me. It’s a huge shame that his solo piano works are not performed as much as they should be. His impact on pedagogy is unmatched,” Farrell says, he is excited to see a resurgence of interest in the American composer’s work due to the scholarship of Watkins. This fall, he begins a Master of Music Composition and Theory in Film and Media Scoring program with the New York University Steinhardt Program, where he will further explore genre crossing. “No longer is jazz restricted to jazz, rock restricted to rock, classical to classical, etc. Contemporary composition combines all these aspects, creating new and completely unique soundscapes.” Versatility is Key Composition majors at JU complete coursework that includes multiple classes in music theory and performance, as well as training in choral literature, arranging, philosophy, conducting, counterpoint, transposition, film scoring, fugal technique, world music, and electronic music, to name only a few. Watkins says, “When I was a kid, everybody wanted to be Van Cliburn. That was in the '60s and '70s.” Cliburn, who achieved worldwide recognition as a solo pianist by age 23, Watkins says is a prime example. But the economics surrounding the music industry soon shifted, and Watkins says it was no longer enough to have tremendous talent in one area. Continued on next page. WAVEMAGAZINEONLINE.COM 39