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Once On This Island - An Exploration of Nontraditional Casting

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Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against "type", which included the presentation of a full-length production of the musical "Once on this Island" which I attempted to cast based on vocal quality and skill alone rather than taking physical characteristics into account. I researched the history and implementation of nontraditional casting, both in regards to race and other factors such as gender, socio-economic status, and disability. I also considered the legal and intellectual property challenges that nontraditional casting can pose. I concluded from this research that while nontraditional casting is only one solution to the problem, it still has a great deal of potential to create diversity in theater. For my own show, I held the initial auditions via audio recording, though the callback auditions were held in person so that I and my crew could appraise dance and acting ability. Though there were many challenges with our cast after this initial round of auditions, we were able to solidify our cast and continue through the rehearsal process. All things said, the show was very successful. It is my hope that those who were a part of the show, either as part of the production or the audience, are inspired to challenge the concept of typecasting in contemporary theater.

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2014-12

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Observations and insights into the life and vocal work of Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges)

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ABSTRACT

Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the brilliant swordsman, unequalled equestrian, athlete, dancer, violin virtuoso, composer and orchestral conductor is, and remains a singularly unique historical figure of the 18th century French Court of Louis XVI. Believed to be the first man of

ABSTRACT

Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the brilliant swordsman, unequalled equestrian, athlete, dancer, violin virtuoso, composer and orchestral conductor is, and remains a singularly unique historical figure of the 18th century French Court of Louis XVI. Believed to be the first man of mixed race to compose classical music, Saint-Georges, who was frequently invited to the court at Versailles to make music with Marie Antoinette not only thrived, but excelled during the height of an appalling slave trade and one of the most explosive periods in European history: the French Revolution. Saint-Georges’ ever evolving talent, and without preamble composed six operas. This research document will introduce to the reader important milestones that influenced the direction of his life, as well as a survey of two arias and duet from the opera L’Amant Anonyme using the paradigm of dance metrics as described in “Rhythmic Gesture in Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni,” by Wye Jamison Allanbrook and “Classical Music, Expression, Form and Style” by Leonard Ratner.

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2016

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The collaborative pianist and body mapping: a guide to healthy body use for pianists and their musical partners

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ABSTRACT Musicians endure injuries at an alarming rate, largely due to the misuse of their bodies. Musicians move their bodies for a living and therefore should understand how to move them in a healthy way. This paper presents Body Mapping

ABSTRACT Musicians endure injuries at an alarming rate, largely due to the misuse of their bodies. Musicians move their bodies for a living and therefore should understand how to move them in a healthy way. This paper presents Body Mapping as an injury prevention technique specifically directed toward collaborative pianists. A body map is the self-representation in one's brain that includes information on the structure, function, and size of one's body; Body Mapping is the process of refining one's body map to produce coordinated movement. In addition to preventing injury, Body Mapping provides a means to achieve greater musical artistry through the training of movement, attention, and the senses. With the main function of collaborating with one or more musical partners, a collaborative pianist will have the opportunity to share the knowledge of Body Mapping with many fellow musicians. This study demonstrates the author's credentials as a Body Mapping instructor, the current status of the field of collaborative piano, and the recommendation for increased body awareness. Information on the nature and abundance of injuries and Body Mapping concepts are also analyzed. The study culminates in a course syllabus entitled An Introduction to Collaborative Piano and Body Mapping with the objective of imparting fundamental collaborative piano skills integrated with proper body use. The author hopes to inform educators of the benefits of prioritizing health among their students and to provide a Body Mapping foundation upon which their students can build technique.

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2013

A study of the solo piano works by Owen Middleton (b. 1941): with a recording of selected works from 1962-1993

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Owen Middleton (b. 1941) enjoys an established and growing reputation as a composer of classical guitar music, but his works for piano are comparatively little known. The close investigation offered here of Middleton's works for piano reveals the same impressive

Owen Middleton (b. 1941) enjoys an established and growing reputation as a composer of classical guitar music, but his works for piano are comparatively little known. The close investigation offered here of Middleton's works for piano reveals the same impressive craftsmanship, compelling character, and innovative spirit found in his works for guitar. Indeed, the only significant thing Middleton's piano music currently lacks is the well-deserved attention of professional players and a wider audience. Middleton's piano music needs to be heard, not just discussed, so one of this document's purposes is to provide a recorded sample of his piano works. While the overall repertoire for solo piano is vast, and new works become established in that repertoire with increasing difficulty, Middleton's piano works have a significant potential to find their way into the concert hall as well as the private teaching studio. His solo piano music is highly effective, well suited to the instrument, and, perhaps most importantly, fresh sounding and truly original. His pedagogical works are of equal value. Middleton's piano music offers something for everyone: there one finds daring virtuosity, effusions of passion, intellectual force, colorful imagery, poetry, humor, and even a degree of idiomatic innovation. This study aims to reveal key aspects of the composer's musical style, especially his style of piano writing, and to provide pianists with helpful analytical, technical, and interpretive insights. These descriptions of the music are supported with recorded examples, selected from the works for solo piano written between 1962 and 1993: Sonata for Piano, Childhood Scenes, Katie's Collection, and Toccata for Piano. The complete scores of the recorded works are included in the appendix. A chapter briefly describing the piano pieces since 1993 concludes the study and invites the reader to further investigations of this unique and important body of work.

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Date Created
2011

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A recording project of three commissioned works for unaccompanied clarinet by Taiwanese composers

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As clarinet compositions created by Taiwanese composers have not been widely discussed and published in academia, this research paper examines three unaccompanied clarinet works by three Taiwanese composers: Ballade by Hsiao-Wen Tseng, Chin Thoughts III by Ling-Huei Tsai, and Pointe

As clarinet compositions created by Taiwanese composers have not been widely discussed and published in academia, this research paper examines three unaccompanied clarinet works by three Taiwanese composers: Ballade by Hsiao-Wen Tseng, Chin Thoughts III by Ling-Huei Tsai, and Pointe de Flame by Chia-Lin Pan, all commissioned by the author in 2007. This research also includes a compact disc with recordings of these works, aiming to document the creativity of Taiwanese composers. This research paper examines these three commissioned works by analyzing their overall musical styles, notations, formal structures, rhythmical and melodic materials, unconventional clarinet techniques as well as the influence of Chinese musical elements. The analysis reveals the distinctive characteristic of each piece. Moreover, the author provides composers' insights and performance guides to help interested readers practice these pieces. To further understand how the composers create these pieces by drawing upon different life experiences, the paper also includes information about their backgrounds, program notes, lists of compositions, and music examples for reference. The author found that collaborating with these composers helped to establish a closer composer-performer relationship in interpreting the music. It is hoped that this compact disc recording will help make Taiwanese composers' clarinet works more accessible to a wider audience. Moreover, this research paper hopes to generate more interest in performing and appreciating music composed by Taiwanese composers.

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Date Created
2011

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An overview of Bohuslav Martinù's piano style with a guide to analysis and interpretation of the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281

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Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech folk music. His music is fresh and appealing to the

Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech folk music. His music is fresh and appealing to the listener, yet it remains intriguing as to how all the elements are combined in a cohesive manner. Martinù himself provides clues to his compositional process. He believed in pure musical expression and the intensity of the musical idea, without the need for extra-musical or programmatic connotations. He espoused holistic and organic views toward musical perception and composition, at times referring to a work as an "organism." This study examines Martinù's piano style in light of his many diverse influences and personal philosophy. The first portion of this paper discusses Martinù's overall style through several piano miniatures written throughout his career. It takes into consideration the composer's personal background, musical influences and aesthetic convictions. The second portion focuses specifically on Martinù's first large-scale work for piano, the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281. Written during a time in which Martinù was black-listed by the Nazis and forced to flee Europe, this piece bears witness to the chaotic events of WWII through its complexity and intensity of character. The discussion and analysis of the Fantasie et Toccata intends to serve as a guide to interpretation for the performer or listener and also seeks to promote the piano music of Bohuslav Martinù to a wider audience.

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Date Created
2011

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Three early twentieth century tango songs arranged for brass quintet

Description

Despite a quickly growing repertoire list for the brass quintet, the music of the early Argentine tango has remained relatively neglected by brass quintet arrangers and performers. With the goal of bringing a neglected art form to the brass quintet

Despite a quickly growing repertoire list for the brass quintet, the music of the early Argentine tango has remained relatively neglected by brass quintet arrangers and performers. With the goal of bringing a neglected art form to the brass quintet repertoire, three arrangements based on early twentieth century Argentine tango songs are presented here: "Elegante Papirusa" by Tito Roccatagliata, "A La Gran Muñeca" by Jesús Ventura, and "La Cotorrita" by Samuel Castriota. The arrangements follow the style of three early recordings produced by The Victor Talking Machine in 1920 and 1922, as performed by two authentic Argentine orquesta típicas: Orquesta Típica Select and Orquesta Típica Fresedo. A brief history of the style and instrumental evolution of tango music from its influences and origins up until 1920 is discussed, followed by a detailed account of the musicians and circumstances involved in the three early recordings. An explanation of the issues encountered by the author in adapting the early tango style to the brass quintet setting is discussed, along with the solutions realized in order to make the project successful and practical for a moderately advanced brass quintet. The full brass quintet scores are provided as part of the Appendix.

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2011

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A new piano reduction of the Sibelius violin concerto with commentary

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Playing an orchestral reduction is not always the most joyous of times for pianists. As pianists, we have to express a reduced idea of all the instruments and orchestral textures that are in the full score. However, in many cases,

Playing an orchestral reduction is not always the most joyous of times for pianists. As pianists, we have to express a reduced idea of all the instruments and orchestral textures that are in the full score. However, in many cases, there are often omissions, errors or discrepancies in the existing published reductions. These reductions are made by a variety of people: editors, conductors, pianists, but rarely by the composer, and often do not reflect the composer's true intentions. While many reductions are technically playable, including the reduction of the Sibelius Violin Concerto that will form the basis of this paper, the arrangement of the orchestration can be obscured or inaccurate to the point where the violin soloist may not be receiving the best representation of the actual orchestration. A piano reduction should as closely as possible represent the original intention of the composer, both for the sake of the audience and the performers. The pianist should be able to provide the proper support and orchestration of any reduction for the instrumentalist or vocalist so that the same performance style and technique can be used while performing with either a piano reduction or a full orchestra. This research document contains a detailed examination of the various orchestral reductions of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, culminating in a new version by the author. In this discussion, the author will present a basic understanding of how to orchestrate at the piano through an in-depth explanation of piano skill and technique, practice techniques such as listening to a recorded version of the full orchestration while playing the piano, and ways to study and revise an existing piano reduction. The current published reductions of the Sibelius Violin Concerto contain many errors and discrepancies and will be contrasted with the author's own reduction, available for comparison and study in the appendix. This new revised reduction will clearly show the orchestral instruments represented throughout the score, demonstrate new techniques for various orchestral textures, and will yield a playable product that more closely represents the composer's original intentions.

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Date Created
2011

Six Chinese piano pieces of the twentieth century: a recording project

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This paper describes six representative works by twentieth-century Chinese composers: Jian-Zhong Wang, Er-Yao Lin, Yi-Qiang Sun, Pei-Xun Chen, Ying-Hai Li, and Yi Chen, which are recorded by the author on the CD. The six pieces selected for the CD all

This paper describes six representative works by twentieth-century Chinese composers: Jian-Zhong Wang, Er-Yao Lin, Yi-Qiang Sun, Pei-Xun Chen, Ying-Hai Li, and Yi Chen, which are recorded by the author on the CD. The six pieces selected for the CD all exemplify traits of Nationalism, with or without Western influences. Of the six works on the CD, two are transcriptions of the Han Chinese folk-like songs, one is a composition in the style of the Uyghur folk music, two are transcriptions of traditional Chinese instrumental music dating back to the eighteenth century, and one is an original composition in a contemporary style using folk materials. Two of the composers, who studied in the United States, were strongly influenced by Western compositional style. The other four, who did not study abroad, retained traditional Chinese style in their compositions. The pianistic level of difficulty in these six pieces varies from intermediate to advanced level. This paper includes biographical information for the six composers, background information on the compositions, and a brief analysis of each work. The author was exposed to these six pieces growing up, always believing that they are beautiful and deserve to be appreciated. When the author came to the United States for her studies, she realized that Chinese compositions, including these six pieces, were not sufficiently known to her peers. This recording and paper are offered in the hopes of promoting a wider familiarity with Chinese music and culture.

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Date Created
2012

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Real-time composer-performer collaboration as explored in Wilderness, a dance and audio installation

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From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an

From fall 2010 to spring 2011, the author was the pianist in twenty public performances of Wilderness, a site-adaptable dance and audio installation by choreographer Yanira Castro and composer Stephan Moore. Wilderness's music was generated as the result of an algorithmic treatment of data collected from the movements of both dancers and audience members within the performance space. The immediacy of using movement to instantaneously generate sounds resulted in the need for a real-time notational environment inhabited by a sight-reading musician. Wilderness provided the author the opportunity to extensively explore an extreme sight-reading environment, as well as the experience of playing guided improvisations over existing materials while incorporating lateral thinking strategies, resulting from a real-time collaboration between composer and performer during the course of a live performance. This paper describes Wilderness in detail with particular attention focused on aspects of the work that most directly affect the pianist: the work's real-time notational system, live interaction between composer and performer, and the freedoms and limitations of guided improvisation. There is a significant amount of multi-media documentation of Wilderness available online, and the reader is directed toward this online content in the paper's appendix.

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2012