Uniting Traditions in ‘Playing for Peace’ (Valley News)

Professor of Music Sally Pinkas talks with the Valley News about next week’s concert “Playing for Peace,” which will include the world premiere of Kareem Rouston’s Traces, described by the Emmy-nominated Syrian composer as a “meditation on loss.”

The new piece was co-commissioned by the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

The Israeli-born Pinkas, who is Dartmouth’s pianist-in-residence, will perform “Playing for Peace” November 13 at the Hopkins Center along with Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and New Hampshire’s Apple Hill String Quartet, writes the Valley News.

“Playing for Peace,” writes the Valley News, is meant to connect musicians from countries in conflict. But performing together “doesn’t have any different meaning than anyone else I would be playing with,” Pinkas tells the newspaper. “And that’s the beauty of it.”

Read the full story, published 11/6/13 by the Valley News.

Music Students Get a Chance to Wield the Conductor’s Baton

Professor of Music Melinda O’Neal acknowledged that her “Music 52” students had “a very tall order” for their final class project: They had a full orchestral score to learn and just two weeks in which to prepare to conduct 30 instrumentalists.

In the week leading up to the final day, each of the eight students conducted two pianists in four-hand arrangements of Schubert, Mozart, and Mendelssohn excerpts, imagining the orchestra layout and instrument timbres while in Faulkner Recital Hall. During these sessions, O’Neal frequently clapped to stop the music so that she could offer recommendations. Occasionally O’Neal, the conductor emerita for the Handel Choir of Baltimore, rose from her seat near the back row to demonstrate a gesture, providing visual guidance. She rarely doled out praise, but her directions were clear and sometimes as simple as reminding the students to check the tempo or to breathe.

“You need to set the salt on the table,” she said to one student, gesturing in a more subdued downward motion.

Why Does Music Move Us So? (National Geographic)

The National Geographic blog Only Human writes about a Dartmouth study that looks at how people express emotions in music and how they express the same emotions in movement.

The researchers included Thalia Wheatley, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences; Beau Sievers, PhD student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Larry Polansky, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor in Music; and Michael Casey, the James Wright Professor and chair of the Department of Music.

According to the study, the magazine writes, “our cognitive connection to music may have evolved from an older skill, the ability to glean emotion from motion.”

Read the full story, published 12/18/12 by National Geographic.

Handel Society to Perform Premiere of Award-Winning Alumni Composer’s Piece

When Oliver Caplan ’04 returns to campus for the Handel Society of Dartmouth College’s performance on November 13, it will be a special occasion for the award-winning composer. Not only will he see old friends in the chorus he once sang with as an undergraduate, but the 100-member group will also premiere a work he wrote.

Caplan’s Roots & Wings was commissioned by Handel Society Director Robert Duff in honor of the Hopkins Center for the Art’s 50th-anniversary celebration. It will be performed in Spaulding Auditorium at 7 p.m. as part of a program entitled Away From Home, which also includes the great American composer John Corigliano’s Fern Hill.

Additionally, the concert previews music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594), Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), and Anton Bruckner (1824-1896). The Handel Society will perform these pieces on its upcoming Italian tour.