Performance Theses: "Coalescence" by Michael Dwyer '18 and "Keepsake: A Sentimental Recollection" with Patrick Williams '18, french horn

Fri, Feb 9 2018 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Buckley Recital Hall

The Amherst College Department of Music presents two senior theses:. "Coalescence" a five-song set of original music by Michael Dwyer ’18, and "Keepsake: A Sentimental Recollection", an honors thesis in horn performance by Patrick Williams ’18. The joint recital lasts 100 minutes (including intermission). A reception to follow.

The recital takes place on Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in Arms Music Center at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

“Coalescence”, a five-song set of original music, was first imagined with the goal of defining a unique sonic space for itself, consisting of the composer’s favorite parts of a variety of musical idioms- from jazz and classical to rock and pop. The very construction of the 11-piece ensemble- a mixture of horns, strings, and rock instruments- aims to challenge the conception of genres as distinct categories of sound and instruments as necessary harbingers of that sound.

Following in the stylistically-blended tradition of artists such as Bloc Party and Streetlight Manifesto but with a uniquely broad set of influences, “Coalescence” seeks to establish itself not as its own genre but as the antithesis thereof- proof of the oft-ignored common ground between popular music, art music, and every stylistic tradition therein. The ensemble consists entirely of Amherst College students drawn from a variety of musical backgrounds, and the compositional process was advised by professors Eric Sawyer and Ryan Vigil.

In “Keepsake”, Patrick Williams explores expansive Romantic soundscapes alongside fresh contemporary literature. Bombast bookends the program, heralding in the grandeur of the Romantic era. Bravado is then juxtaposed with sweetness and solemnity as introspective melodies flow freely. These contrasting moods are then processed, their synthesis culminating in a confident and energetic ending.

Each composer featured in this program shares an intimate connection with the horn that allows them to delve into the past. In choosing his recital literature, Williams has sought out a sentimental selection of music, each piece a keepsake dear to his musical journey. In his studies, he developed an affinity for the lower register of the horn; the first half of his program highlights this timbre not often heard in solo performances. The second half of the recital revisits salient musical memories through a collection of works vital to his growth as a musician.

Neuling – Bagatelle for Low Horn and Piano
Yenque – Tanguito for Horn alone
Miller – Hunting Songs for Low Horn and Piano
Brooks – Rhapsody for Horn and Piano
F. Strauss – Nocturno for Horn and Piano
Brahms – Scherzo from Trio for Horn, Violin, and Piano
R. Strauss – Horn Concerto No. 1

Joining Patrick on his recital is collaborative pianist Grant Moss, college organist and senior lecturer at Smith College. Pianist Phuong-Nghi Pham ‘18 and violinist Elliot Kuan ’18 are also featured.

Free and open to the public.

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, please visit us on the web: For further information please contact Alisa Pearson, Manager of Concert Programming, Production and Publicity, at 413/542-2195.

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