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World premiere of student composer and alumni saxophone collaboration performed in NYC Nov. 16.
Monday, November 07, 2011

Kate Parker
Composer Kate Parker is a junior at the Fredonia School of Music. A resident of Chautauqua, N.Y., she will make her first trip to New York City to attend the premiere of her piece, "We Are Art," performed by music alumni Jacob Swanson and Sarah Marchitelli, in photo at left.

A collaboration between two SUNY Fredonia School of Music alumni and a current student composer will culminate in a world premiere to be performed in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will take place at noon at the Interchurch Center (475 Riverside Drive). It will feature both older and contemporary works for the saxophone.

Jacob Swanson and Sarah MarchitelliJacob Swanson and Sarah Marchitelli, at left, former students of Fredonia’s Associate Professor of Saxophone Wildy Zumwalt, will perform, “We Are Art,” a new, three-movement piece for soprano and alto saxophone and electronics. It was commissioned from Kate Parker, a current junior music composition major and student of Assistant Professor and Head of Music Composition Rob Deemer.

Parker, a resident of Chautauqua, N.Y., will make her first trip to New York City to attend her piece’s premiere.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the city for the first time,” says Parker. “Flying to JFK early in the morning, seeing these great performers play my music in the afternoon, and flying back later that night should be a whirlwind and a fantastic experience.”

Her work was inspired by the different ways water interacts with its environment, which she equated to interpersonal relationships. “We Are Art” is separated into three separate movements: “Morning Dew,” “Gathering Ice,” and “Whirlpool.” It represents the first time Parker has explored the combination of digital electronics with acoustic instruments. She used software that records performers as they play a short phrase, and then repeated the phrase — a process called “looping” — after which the performers can play new music on top of the loops. This allows a small number of players — two saxophones, in this case — to create rich and complex musical textures beyond what they could do by themselves.

Parker’s composition instructor was overjoyed by the announcement of the premiere, as well as the follow-on public performance she has scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at St. Bonafice Catholic Church in Erie, Pa.

“I am so proud of Kate, Jacob, and Sarah. The initiative these young musicians are showing by working together in a collaborative process, being unafraid to use new technologies to discover different ways to create art, and being confident enough to take the project to the city, is very impressive” said Dr. Deemer. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie between our composers and the performers in the School of Music, and there’s no stronger bond than between my studio and the saxophone studio led by Dr. Zumwalt. His students are always asking my students to write more music for their instruments, and the results have been very strong. These concerts demonstrate many of the concepts I’ve been trying to encourage: commissioning, collaboration, community, technology and repeat performances.”

To learn more, contact Dr. Deemer at (716) 673-3133 or

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