Project Abstract

On April 2015, Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will perform the last concert of the year, and for such an occasion, the SSO has commissioned a new work by Dr. Sidney King. Dr. King is an accomplished American orchestral composer, pedagogue, and double bassist. This grant will allow us to expand this concert into a fully academic experience by inviting Dr. King to teach master classes open to young audiences and music teachers from the Cumberland Plateau area to illustrate his compositional process and the way in which he uses local musical traditions in his works. These master classes will emphasize the importance of developing an orchestral repertoire that represents cultural shifts, social interactions, and honors the wide variety of musical traditions that coexist in the United States. Particular attention would be given to the process of creating instrumental pedagogic repertoire inspired by folk-like musical genres such as those from the southern Appalachia.

Project Alignment with the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies

The project discussed above is part of a preliminary stage of a long term goal to create a satellite orchestral program in the region. This initiative seeks to use various music forms from the region to develop a pedagogically oriented orchestral repertoire to teach young students, through recognizable folk musical traditions, the craft of instrumental performance and orchestral music.

  1. Working with an accomplished composer will give University students a unique window into developing an understanding of the compositional process of a recognized composer.
  2. This project involves a broad cross-section of our community, including community members from several counties in the area, secondary school teachers, and University faculty and students.
  3. The proposed workshops aim to present compositional methods that would provide music pedagogues with skill to develop musical instruction in classical formats using folk-like repertoires.
  4. Through acknowledging the possibility of including folk music repertoires in the construction of an orchestral program, this project not only will contribute to preserve such repertoires but also enhance our understanding of the region.

Project Impact

This particular project represents an early stage of a large-scale project. Our long term project consists of creating an orchestral program in the region where students who participate will receive qualified music instruction, musical instruments, and the opportunity to belong to chamber ensembles and orchestras. This particular project will have a direct impact on faculty, staff, students and community members.

As mentioned earlier, one of the 90-minute workshops by Sidney King will target music pedagogues from the region and University faculty interested in the ideas behind his compositions and his methodologies. This particular workshop will also be open to those members of the community who perform or create music empirically. The second workshop will include University students who are interested in music which likely will include a mix of music majors and non-music majors.

Ideally, this workshop will allow the attendees to create a network for those sharing similar interests in music education and the performing arts.In the past, our concerts have drawn an average of 350 attendees, including faculty, staff, students, and community members from the surrounding area. Our Children’s Concert this fall brought 500 students and teachers from area public schools, and around 20 more faculty families with small children. We plan to evaluate the success of the project described herein by the number of attendees from the various groups we wish to target, including community music teachers and students, and feedback we receive following the classes.

Final Report