The Davidson College Music Department recognized the exceptional works of three students at our most recent Music Department Banquet and Spring Convocation.
A hearty congratulations to our student award winners:
THE RICHARD ROSS MEMORIAL MUSIC AWARD - Jennifer Erin Nicholson '12
This year’s recipient of the Richard Ross Memorial Music Award arrived at Davidson with dreams of being a doctor like her parents. She did take a relatively long time to succumb to the Dark Side, but eventually she recognized in herself the same passion for music that she experienced when consorting with the students and faculty of the music department. She has distinguished herself by extensive involvement in both the music and theater departments. Her presence in chorale, opera workshops, our classes, and a wicked-good sense of humor will be missed next year, but our hearts wish her Godspeed in the pursuit of her career. It is with great joy that we award this year’s Richard Ross Memorial Music Award to Jennifer Erin Nicholson.
THE WELSH PRIZE IN COMPOSITION – Tim Rauen '14
Established in 2006 in honor of Wilmer Hayden Welsh, Composer and Professor of Music at Davidson College from 1963-1991, this award recognizes the best original music composition by a Davidson student written in the previous calendar year.
Our 2012 prize goes to Tim Rauen for his piece, Julia, for flute and piano. This composition was written as the final project for MUS 261 Introduction to Composition in Fall 2011. The composer writes:
"The title of this piece was inspired by my intent to write a piece that I could play with my sister Julia. She is a flautist and I a pianist. The harmony and voicing of the piece reflect an ideal sibling relationship in which each voice influences and balances the other. An opening flute solo is soon supported with a piano accompaniment. In this opening section, the flute presents the melodic motif that will be repeated and varied throughout the piece. Like two people who appreciate and admire each other greatly, the two instruments subtly echo and reinvent each other’s music. The melody progresses through a number of key changes and variations, and the two instruments occasionally swap roles to play previous gestures with new voicing. Midway through the piece, when the piano takes the melody into a minor key, the flute follows enthusiastically, introducing a series of lively melodic ideas that both instruments explore in turns. A brief return to the original theme, followed by a return to the second theme brings the work to a dynamic conclusion."
Julia was performed on New Music Davidson, December 6, 2011, Daniel Legrand on flute and Michael Rowland on piano.
THE RUFUS HALLMARK WRITING AWARD - Steven Hummel '13
Named after distinguished musicologist Rufus Hallmark, Davidson class of 1965, the Rufus Hallmark Writing award recognizes the best essay on a musical topic written in the previous year. The music faculty is pleased to present the 2012 Hallmark award to Steven Hummel for his essay, “The Pitfalls of Familiarity: The Problematic Historiography of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565,” written for MUS 325 (Music History I) last fall.
Dwelling on the ways music scholars have updated and revised their ideas about even extremely famous pieces of music, Hummel’s essay deftly tells the story of the work made so famous by its seeming ubiquity in horror films, the familiar lower mordents on the organ that accompany characters like the phantom of the opera, Captain Nemo, and Dr. Jekyll. Hummel turns to the conundrums raised by that North Carolina organist, Peter Williams, who questioned whether there was anything remotely accurate about the phrase “Toccata in D Minor for Organ by J.S. Bach.” Reminding us to question received ideas and to use our imagination and intellect when we think about music, Williams and Hummel remind us that even the music we think we know the best may still be full of mysteries.