Composer’s Collective inspires future composers

Students met for a musical presentation and orientation for the Composer’s Collective, a meeting of the minds for composers and vocalists put on by the Cosumnes River College Composition Club, at CRC on Aug. 31 introducing Ann Moss.
Faculty advisor, Kurt Erickson, and Ann Moss, soprano and guest Artist in Residence from Aug. 31 through Oct. 17, modeled the Composer’s Collective after a two-week workshop both Erickson and Moss presented this summer at California State University Sacramento called Summer Arts Composer/Performer Collaboration Workshop.
“The students who are interested in participating will compose pieces for me, most likely in the Art Song genre, and Mr. Erickson will help them through the composition process,” said Moss.
Art Song is the joining of words and music with a prearranged musical accompaniment. Moss spoke of using a small amount of text when writing Art Song, which consists of eight lines or so, and the importance of having your text inspire your composition.
“The students and I will have a chance to check in mid-way through their writing process, to problem solve any issues they might be having with setting the text, notating the vocal line, etc.,” said Moss.
The meetings will probably happen via Skype or Google video chat. In mid-October they will have a workshop, a recording session or a public performance of the pieces the students wrote, both Moss and Erickson said.
Erickson played accompaniment on the piano while Moss sang several short pieces, one written by a CSUS student, Christian Guebert, at their summer program.
“Christian’s piece shows a nice mix of technical ability and narrative clarity,” said Moss. “He had taken a course in Art Song composition, so he had a little more experience than some of the other students. But what really blew me away was how quickly he found his text and composed the song. Literally in just a few days!”
Kevin Brisco, 19, a music major and composition club member, said he was excited to work with interesting people, to have a vocalist guest here and learn to write for voice as an instrument.
“Usually you write and you’re all by yourself,” said Brisco. “To actually write and get feedback will be good.”
Moss addressed the underlying aim of bringing composers and performers together.
“If a composer has a question about how an instrument works, or what something they are writing will sound like, the best thing they can do is go to somebody who plays that instrument and ask them,” said Moss. “I felt that, if composers and singers interacted a little more, got to know more about each other’s process, it might help bridge that gap over time.”