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NEW HAVEN — Nazareth College Wind Symphony (NCWS), conducted by Dr Jared Chase, will perform the world premiere “Into the Silent Land” by Rochester, N.Y.-based composer Steve Danyew on Thursday, March 8, at 5 pm. The performance will be in Woosley Hall, on the campus of Yale University. Admission is free.
Mr Danyew grew up in Sandy Hook, and attended Sandy Hook Elementary School for grades 3-5. An award-winning composer, Mr Danyew said much of his formal music training began at the Dickinson Drive elementary school.
“I remember singing in music class there, learning the recorder, the violin, and starting the saxophone, which really put me on a path to a life in music,” said Mr Danyew.
Dr Chase approached Mr Danyew last year about writing a new piece for a consortium. A total of 35 schools and individuals throughout the United States and Canada have signed on to be part of the commissioning consortium.
NCWS was invited to perform a concert as part of the 2018 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Eastern Division Conference, which will take place March 7-10 at Yale University.
“When Jared and I began talking about a new piece to be presented at the concert in New Haven, we talked about the significance of Connecticut for me, and I felt like maybe I was ready to write a piece about Sandy Hook,” said Mr Danyew. It was, the composer added, “probably the hardest piece I have written.
“Ultimately I hope that it is meaningful for listeners and causes us to pause and remember the victims and the families of this tragedy and other similar tragedies, and hopefully come together to prevent this kind of violence,” he said.
The nine-minute “Into the Silent Land” blends elements of a funeral march and a lament with music that is at times mournful and at other times ethereal. Toward the end of the work, lines from the Christina Rossetti poem “Remember” are read over the music. The title of the work comes from the opening lines of the poem (“Remember me when I am gone away, gone far away into the silent land”).
The poem will be read by Dr Katie Hannigan, assistant professor of voice at Nazareth College.
In addition to Mr Danyew’s work, the full concert program of Nazareth College Wind Symphony will include “Here’s to Good Old Yale” by Charles Ives (1897), Kathryn Salfelder’s “Cathedrals” (2007), Gustav Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” and “Of War and Peace” by Michael Daugherty 2017).
Steve Danyew’s music has been hailed as “startlingly beautiful” and “undeniably well crafted and communicative” (The Miami Herald), and has been praised as possessing “sensitivity, skill and tremendous sophistication” (The Kansas City Independent).
Mr Danyew earned a Bachelor of Music from Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and a master’s in music composition and certificate in arts leadership from the Eastman School of Music. He serves as an instructor in the Arts Leadership Program at the Eastman School of Music, where he teaches courses on career skills and creativity for musicians.
Mr Danyew also serves as managing editor of The Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research at the Eastman School, where he writes and curates content for musicians, ensembles, and organizations. Mr Danyew additionally self-publishes much of his catalog, though several of his works are published by Augsburg Fortress Press, Colla Voce Music, and Keyboard Percussion Publications.
Woolsey Hall is the primary auditorium at Yale University. It is located on the campus’ Hewitt Quadrangle, at 500 College Street.