CSU musicians premier unique piece for choir, clarinet, and electronics

Women in the CSU Concert ChoirBy Emily Kaiser, Publicity Intern

The Colorado State University choirs are preparing for a thrilling performance on Friday, March 2, which includes the premier of a new piece by one of CSU’s very own. The Chamber Choir is performing an original work by Composition Professor Dr. James David. The piece, “Pilgrim Soul” includes guest artist Dr. Wesley Ferreria on clarinet, as well as a live electronics feature.

Dr. David’s inspiration for the new, nine-minute piece is the William Butler Yeats poem, “When You Are Old.” “The language struck me as a nice balance of beauty and directness, and the overall message was one I could particularly get behind,” said David. “The idea that we should continue to look forward as we age and avoid nostalgia feels particularly relevant in the current climate.”

“The clarinet serves as a sort of “Greek chorus” that guides the listener through the poem’s narrative. The electronics serve as both backdrop and binder – [a] mise en scene – for the entire work, bridging the ethereal sounds of the voices with the intimate quality of the clarinet,” the composer elaborated.

Dr. David admitted his reasoning for combining the choir, clarinet, and live electronics was simply because he “thought they would sound beautiful together,” plus, he has never heard them combined in a piece before. He chose to incorporate the unique artistry of technology into his piece because it explores “sonic possibilities of human-created sounds.”

One of Dr. David’s passions as a musician is finding innovative ways to collaborate with other musicians, and “Pilgrim Soul” provided a unique opportunity to work with both students and colleagues. His hope is to create a sense of comfortability between the variety of musicians and instruments in contemporary culture.

CSU’s clarinet professor, Dr. Ferreria plays an essential role in many of the music performances at the University Center for the Arts. In addition to teaching and directing clarinet students in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Dr. Ferreria serves as a guest artist whenever he can.

“I always enjoy participating and performing as a guest artist with our CSU ensembles. I have had the opportunity to perform with the CSU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Symphonic Band in the past, but this is my first time performing with the Chamber Choir,” said Ferreria, who really enjoys the collaborative aspect of his role at the School.

“I have performed and premiered many of Dr. David’s pieces over the past six years, so I know to expect a beautifully written, thought-provoking, and exciting composition from him.” Ferreria explained.

In addition to the premier of “Pilgrim’s Soul,” the Chamber Choir is performing a piece from Canadian composer, Ruth Watson Henderson, a five-movement work called, “Missa Brevis.”

The Concert Choir is performing multiple works by world-famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Johannes Brahms. The performance will conclude with spiritual works by 20th century American composer Moses Hogan.

The concert takes place at the University Center for the Arts Griffin Concert Hall on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for CSU students, $3 for youth under 18, $16 for seniors (62+), $14 for adults, and can be reserved online at csuartstickets.com or at the UCA box office Monday-Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

CSU University Communications Staff