Bradley faculty chamber ensemble Peoria Lunaire of the Music Department presented its Spring Concert Monday night along with the Hilltop String Quartet and many student artists.
The concert was presented as two parts with the first act featuring five student compositions, including works of former Bradley students.
“I was surprised the entire first act was all either current Bradley student or former Bradley student [compositions],” Mason Boore, a junior trumpet performance major who also composed the opening piece of the night, “Color Studies: Steel Grey,” said.
Students who performed said they were excited to share the work they spent semesters preparing.
“It was a dream come true,” Nolan Ruthe, a sophomore music education major and the composer of ‘Rosewood Excursion,’ said. “My friend John Posth asked me if I’d write a percussion piece for him … I started off a simple melody and kind of developed from there and kept building and building, and we decided to add a second player and turned it into a duet.”
Peoria Lunaire Ensemble cellist Sarah Hansen, a Bradley affiliate instructor of cello, commended the diversity of Bradley student’s compositions in comparison to other schools.
“The thing that I love about Bradley student composition is it is all very different,” Hansen said. “A lot of time you can go to a school and they all kind of sound the same, like each school has its specific voice.”
Peoria Lunaire performed the main piece of the night, “Spam,” in the second act of the concert.
The composer of “Spam,” Marc Mellits, is one of the most widely performed living American composers and was in attendance at the concert. He took the time to share insight on his composition
“People ask me about what I need to hear [in ‘Spam’],” Mellits said. “Instead of trying to figure music out, just relax and let music figure you out.”
Student musicians said the performance process Mellits explained to the audience surprised them.
“I thought what he said was really interesting … especially as a music major,” freshman instrumental music education major Eva Corona said. “I feel like we listen to a lot and try to analyze everything, and he just told us to do the exact opposite.”
Peoria Lunaire hosts a concert every semester to perform newly-composed music, as well as provide Music Department students a stage for their works, according to Music Department professor Stephen Heinemann.
“It’s rare that you see student performers and composers play on the same program with faculty,” Hansen said. “So it is really unique to Bradley.”