Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Contemporary composer to conduct Lamont students

Students at the Lamont School of Music will have a rare opportunity to perform works by composer and conductor Eric Whitacre. Whitacre — one of the most popular choral composers in the country — will be a guest conductor at a Feb. 25 concert featuring the Lamont Chorale, Lamont Wind Ensemble, guest chamber choir Kantorei and St. Martin’s Chamber Choir.

“People connect with his music immediately,” says Catherine Sailer, director of choral studies. Whitacre’s music “is a substantial, well-crafted repertoire that is worthy of significant study,” she says.

Sailer brings living composers to DU regularly to engage students more deeply in the music-making process.

“Working with the composer gives the performers more insight into the repertoire and a direct connection with the artistic demands of each piece,” Sailer says.

With Whitacre, students will get the added pleasure of performing with him.

“A composer as a conductor is rare,” Sailer says. “No one knows [the pieces] like he knows them. The students will get inside his head a bit and see what his vision is for his music.”

Because of the Lamont Chorale’s connection with Whitacre, the group was invited to perform at the American Choral Directors Association’s Southwestern Division Conference, which is in Denver Feb. 24–27.

“This will raise our visibility in the nation,” Sailer says. “It will showcase the chorale’s skill level. This is a difficult repertoire to perform well.”

The Feb. 25 concert will include “Lux Aurumque” and “A Boy and A Girl,” which are among the most popular choral works of the last decade. In addition, the concert will include a number of new unpublished pieces and premieres.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Gates Hall in the Newman Center. It is free and open to the public.

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