|Pictured above and below: Seth Colaner conducts a rock opera on campus (spring 2003).|
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Faculty-student collaborations are common at small colleges and run the gamut of creativity, imagination and ingenuity.
This weekend will certainly prove that true when the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) premieres “Dance of the Mechanicals,” a creative collaboration between junior Seth Colaner and award-winning composer and Wittenberg music professor Steven Winteregg, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering.
DPO Conductor Neal Gittleman selected the Winteregg/Colaner composition as part of its eighth annual summer Sunset Symphony concert series, featuring music from classical to swing at The Fraze.
“I am thrilled that the piece was indeed chosen to be performed,” said Colaner, a Xenia native now living in Cedarville. “Having your name and music exposed to an orchestra full of professional musicians, not to mention a Dayton audience, is a rare opportunity. These are the things that, in an effort to be recognized as a composer, you dream about.”
A guitarist who is particularly adept at vocal music, Colaner was approached by Winteregg in the fall of 2002 to contribute music for Wittenberg’s spring 2003 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by famed British director Anthony Cornish.
One of three composition majors in the four-year-old Wittenberg program, Colaner collaborated with Winteregg in the school’s John Chowning Laboratory for Music and Technology, donated by the 1959 alumnus and famous composer Chowning, to rework Colaner’s original vocal piece, “Bottom’s Song,” into a dance for the Shakespeare classic. Chowning’s donation made Wittenberg’s new composition major possible, and since then, the university has graduated two composition majors in the last two years.
As part of the project, Colaner focused on vocal music, while Winteregg worked on instrument sections in order to provide synthesized music for the production.
“The most difficult part was writing music that echoed the time period of Shakespeare without being stuck in the past,” Colaner said. “I wanted it to sound fresh, not rehashed.”
Using the computers again in the Chowning music composition lab, Winteregg and Colaner were then able to create a score for a small orchestra. The result is the three-minute “Dance of the Mechanicals,” as it’s called in Britain, which Winteregg describes as a raucous, rustic, Renaissance-tinged dance with a lilting rhythm.
Tickets are now on sale at The Fraze or through Ticketmaster for the concert, which also features Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the high-octane, neo-swing little Big Band.
The winner of dozens of awards and fellowships in his 25 years as a composer, Winteregg has produced the musical score for three full-length ballets, both commissioned and premiered by the Dayton Ballet. His compositions have also been performed throughout the world.
Colaner is currently composing a comedic opera, which he hopes to complete by Christmas.
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