This November, the AU School of Music, Theatre & Dance is hosting the Student Composers Recital in York Performance Hall.
Dr. Caroline KyungA Ahn, professor of composition and music theory, defines composition as “writing using musical language.” She says that in the composition process “you try to describe the feelings or emotions that you have in your heart through, or using, the musical elements.”
Ahn’s favorite part about being a composition teacher is seeing her students’ personalities come out in their music. She says that her students are very talented, and she encourages everyone to come to the recital and experience “the different styles and characteristics of music that people are trying to express to the world.”
Kathryn Hochstetler, a junior music education major, uses simple melodies in her composition to reflect her personality. Hochstetler, who wrote her composition for piano and clarinet, draws her inspiration from Leander Fisher’s piano work “The Robin’s Return” and the soundtrack from “Up.”
She explains that the composition process can be lengthy, and that it’s important to be vulnerable. “The most important thing is being willing to be creative even if it scares you,” Hochstetler says. “You have to throw it out there, then go back and fix it and change it.”
This will be Hochstetler’s first time sharing one of her compositions with the public. She says that, even though she’s nervous, “when it’s finally out there, it will just feel really good.”
“There aren’t very many opportunities to make something that’s completely your own and that other people can perform,” Hochstetler says. “Even though it’s scary, and even though I’m worried people might not like it, I’m so glad that that hasn’t kept me from actually writing it.”
Hochstetler said that reflection is an important part of musical composition.
“If people have the opportunity to take part of their own life and reflect on it in my piece, then it’ll mean something personal to them, even if it didn’t mean the same thing to me when I wrote it,” she says.
Kameron Mechling, a junior who has been composing music for about six years, says, “I feel like my music is the best medium for me to communicate what I want to with others.”
Mechling’s composition will be performed on piano and cello, and is written in the keys of B minor, E major and E-flat major. Mechling’s composition mimics musical elements from the “La La Land” soundtrack, and he draws the inspiration for his composition from the difficult times in his life.
“When others listen to my composition, I hope that they do see a bit of my personality and my heart behind it,” says Mechling.
The Student Composers recital is an opportunity for students like Kathryn Hochstetler and Kameron Mechling to share emotion and meaning through their music.
The recital will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, and is an opportunity for students to share their original compositions with the public.