Celebrate 32nd annual world premiere composition series concert with guest composer

Madeline Keegan
Arts & Life

Saturday marks the 32nd annual World Premiere Composition Series Concert. This year’s event will be conducted by trumpeter, conductor, composer and performance artist Brian McWhorter.
McWhorter is a graduate of the Julliard School and the University of Oregon. He will be conducting the world premiere of his two new songs: “Genesis 1: a musician’s take on creation” and “Mutiny.” Both songs were composed specifically for The University’s Concert Band and Concert Choir.

“Genesis 1,” composed for the concert band, is the telling of the creation of music; it chronicles the sounds of the first six days of creation. This piece contains elemental components of music to symbolize the first three days and the culture of music-making meant to represent the final three days. All in all, this piece contains a style of music that is underrepresented in today’s society.

“Mutiny,” composed for the concert choir, explores the delicate intertwining of musical notation as theatre and theatrical script as music. This exposes a sensitive relationship between the conductor and choir.

The World Premiere Composition Series Concert at The University was established in 1984. Since the beginning of the series 32 years ago, The University has hosted many acclaimed composers, such as Vaclav Nelhybel, Robert Starer, Wycliffe Gordon, Lawrence Wolfe, Victor Goines and Ted Nash. The University even provided the now-internationally renowned composer Robert Kapilow with his very first commission.

McWhorter is not only a composer, but a college professor as well. He is currently an associate professor of music at the University of Oregon, and has also taught at The Manhattan School of Music, Princeton University and Louisiana State University. McWhorter studied music composition for dance with Pia Gilbert and music composition for film with Edward Bilous while at Julliard.

McWhorter has been hailed as a “terrific trumpeter” for his solo work by The New York Times. He also worked extensively with brass chamber groups, including the Oregon Brass Quintet, Extension Ensemble and the Manhattan Brass Quintet. He was the composer and conductor for the nationally broadcast 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships Opening Ceremonies, a piece for which he was featured in a focus article in The New York Times, and he served as guest conductor for the Anchorage Symphony’s production of “The Nutcracker” for the 2014-2015 season. His talents are not limited to the performing arts. After dipping his toes into the realm of sculpture, he created “The Exacto-Rama,” which will be the feature of a new documentary. McWhorter’s talents in the creative arts seem to be unmeasurable.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Houlihan-McLean Center and is free and open to the public, thanks to many generous donations. This is an event where people of all ages can all come together and open their ears to The University’s Concert Band and Concert Choir.

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