Composition Concert kicks off 2019 Faculty Artist Series

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As a new year rings in, it is only fitting to have a concert highlighting new musical works. The Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s composition faculty, along with many guest artists, will continue the Faculty Artist Series on Tuesday, January 15. The start time is set for 7:30 pm in Ramsey Concert Hall.


“From the very beginning, our conception of this faculty recital included the idea of writing new pieces for us to perform ourselves,” says Adrian Childs, the music composition and theory area chair at the University of Georgia. The performance will feature the inaugural appearance of the Subaerial Collective, as well as three new works for their novel instrumentation, which will be premiered at the end of the recital.


This unique Faculty Artist Series concert is not one to be missed. Audiences will be able to enjoy brand new repertory and four premiere performances. “I think that attendees at the recital will be struck by the variety of voices and ideas coming from our composition faculty—the music is thought-provoking, meditative, and fun in equal measure,” says Dr. Childs.


On Emily Koh’s world premiere of her composition “zetsu,” the Subaerial Collective, which includes assistant professor of composition Peter Van Zandt Lane on bassoon, Dr. Koh on double bass, and Dr. Childs on piano, will perform. “Zetsu is a fictional character from Naruto with two different halves of his body—a black half and a white half.  To me, Zetsu personifies finality. With low and quick microtonal movement in the bass registers and tense harmonics in the mid-high registers, my work zetsu is characterized by deep, inner conflicts and tension,” says Dr. Koh.


Another piece composed by Dr. Koh is based on the French lyric poem written by Charles Baudelaire from his highly controversial first edition of poems in 1857. “[The piece] is a choral setting of Remorse of the Dead (Remords posthume) from The Flowers of Evil (Fleurs du mal).It is a beautiful setting on the surface, but the noir elements slowly seep out of the crevices to reach the final chord,” says Dr. Koh, assistant professor of composition. The VERITAS Vocal Ensemble, an 8-piece student choral ensemble, will be performing this piece. 


Also joining the composition faculty and student performers will be several area faculty members. On Peter Van Zandt Lane’s 2018 composition “Piano Quartet: The Longitude Problem,” performers will include associate professor of violin Michael Heald, associate professor of viola Maggie Snyder, professor of cello David Starkweather, and assistant professor of piano David Fung. Inspired by developments in maritime navigation in the 18th century, the piece, written in three movements, was composed for the Atlanta Chamber Players. Dr. Lane’s second piece of the program, /chatter/, was composed for the new trio, Subaerial Collective, and features “electronic elements in a short, fast-paced musical banter,” according to Dr. Lane.


The program also includes two world premieres written by Dr. Childs. He describes the story behind his piece "Blues for Large Hands,” which is the first in a series of solo piano pieces that he’s written in honor and memory of his composition teachers. “[Their music] engaged idiosyncratically with elements of jazz. I have drawn these memories and influences together into a piece that is mostly notated, but also includes some improvisation,” he says.


Speaking to the name of their new trio, Subaerial Collective, Dr. Childs realized that "Bonobo Assassin,” a name they had formerly considered for the trio, would work well as the title for the piece he was writing. “Like its title, the piece involves two ideas that don't seem to belong together—a dry, driving line and some ethereal chords—whose combination comes across as serious, but is also a bit ridiculous,” Dr. Childs says.


With a concert filled with new music and world premieres, audiences will be able to feel like they’ve fully entered the new year. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and children and can be purchased online at or by calling the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 706-542-4400. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly towards funding student scholarships. For those unable to attend the concert, live streaming will be available online at