Adjunct Music Professor Featured as Guest Composers at Hillsdale College Residence

Dr. Andrew Martin Smith and Jamie Leigh Sampson.

Jamie Leigh Sampson and Andrew Martin Smith, faculty members of the Fredonia School of Music since 2015, were invited to compose during a two-day residency at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, Monday and Tuesday, April 11-12 .

The residency included lectures, masterclasses and a concert by the Hillsdale College Faculty Woodwind Quintet (Jaimie Wagner, flute; Christopher Wheeler, oboe; Andrew Sprung, clarinet; Al Taplin, horn; Cindy Duda, bassoon) with soprano lyric Kristi Matson. The concert includes tandem premieres of works written by Ms. Sampson and Dr. Smith, commissioned specifically for the ensemble, which will be performed alongside music by Nino Rota (1911-1979) and Giulio Briccialdi (1818-1881) .

Sampson’s new composition for wind quintet, ‘They Were Verbs’, is based on a misread passage from a cookbook. By accidentally skipping a few lines of text, the resulting word combination of “they were… verbs” seemed comical to the composer; yet, it also seemed quite poignant. “Our lives are lived in actions, which are understood through verbs. We are often told that we are what we do repeatedly,” Sampson explained.

The commissioned piece for wind quintet seemed like the perfect vehicle to explore the contrast between quiet verbs and action verbs, with a hazy opening that evolves into a blossoming race, the uneven dance that twirls in the chord progression at the end, and the pillars of his standing guard.

Smith’s work for soprano voice and wind quintet, ‘(dys)lexical trans(fer)mission’, is an almost dramatic set of musical variations based on the composer’s own text, which abstractly describes the process of an artist and the inherent frustrations of creative management. thoughts and impulses. The text is progressively manipulated throughout the composition using literary/poetic techniques adopted by the Ouvroir of Potential Literature (i.e. the Oulipo), while the protagonist searches for the “good ones” words to capture a fleeting idea.

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