Announcing Kevin Puts
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer in Residency at MSU.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts held a weeklong guest artist residency in the College of Music from October 26-30. While at MSU, Puts gave two presentations in addition to rehearsing with three student ensembles that performed his works. MSU’s contemporary music ensemble Musique 21, with director Kevin Noe, began the series with a performance on Monday, Oct. 26 in Fairchild Theatre featuring Puts’ Einstein on Mercer Street, a fresh take on a song cycle.
Puts was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for his opera, Silent Night, which recalls the Christmas Eve ceasefire during World War I. Puts’ other works are of no light matter, either. The text of Einstein on Mercer Street is sung as if by Einstein himself and deals with the inner turmoil of the genius’s private life.
Of Puts, Noe, who also directs the Symphony Orchestra, says he “is one of the true American masters, and Einstein on Mercer Street is an absolute masterpiece.” Musique 21’s performance featureed bass-baritone Timothy Jones. Noe and Jones’ collaboration was not the first of its kind—the pair were both involved with the world premiere of Einstein on Mercer Street in 2002 with Timothy Jones as soloist and Kevin Noe as conductor. Musique 21 also performed Puts’ Traveler and Three Nocturnes, as well as Pushpulling by Donnache Dennehy.
As a composer in residence, Kevin Puts also worked with College of Music’s Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra prior to each ensemble’s performance. Wind Symphony performed Puts’ Millennium Canons, an exuberant fanfare, and Symphony Orchestra, with faculty artist Richard Sherman as flute soloist, performed Puts’ Flute Concerto. Puts’ gave master classes on Oct. 27 and a lecture that afternoon as well. These classes were designed for music students, but they were free and open to the public.
Composer Steven Bryant simultaneously held a residency at MSU as he worked with Symphony Band and Wind Symphony to perform some of his music for wind ensemble. Faculty artist Joseph Lulloff, saxophone, joined Wind Symphony as soloist for Bryant’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble.
Faculty artist Phil Sinder, tuba, joined Symphony Band as soloist for the world premiere of Matt Schoendorff’s Concerto for Tuba and Wind Ensemble. Matt Schoenforff is a 2009 graduate of the College of Music and was present as guest composer for the premiere.
- Monday, Oct. 26- Musique 21 at 7:30 p.m. in MSU Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre*
- Tuesday, Oct. 27- Symphony Band at 7:30 p.m. in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall
- Thursday, Oct. 29- Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall*
- Friday, Oct. 30- Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall*
*Denotes performances at which Puts was guest composer.