OSU Contemporary Music Festival Honors Donald Harris

Composer and OSU Professor Emeritus Donald Harris.(Photo: handout photo)
Composer and OSU Professor Emeritus Donald Harris.(Photo: handout photo)

Last Thursday, The Ohio State University School of Music presented the first concert of their eighth annual Contemporary Music Festival.

Each year a notable composer is brought to campus to teach and share a new work: this year honored composer Donald Harris, who founded the festival in 2000.

His new work,  A Letter from Home, is scored for two sopranos, flute, violin and harp and is based on the poem A Letter from Home by Mary Oliver. Sopranos Christine Mortine and Lucy Shelton blended lusciously, and were well supported by the Cosmos trio.

The concert also featured new works by Thomas Wells, Matthew Saunders, and Jan Radzynski.

The works by recent OSU graduate Matthew Saunders, and faculty member Jan Radzynski were commissioned especially for this year’s Festival by the The Johnstone Fund for New Music.

Formed in 2008 by Jack and Zoe Johnstone, the fund supports the creation and performance of new work and sponsors local concerts and artists.

One of Donald Harris’s mentors, Ross Lee Finney, was also commemorated with a dazzling performance of his Fantasy for Two Movements by violinist Kia-Hui Tan.

And finally, dancers from Ballet Met joined OSU faculty members on stage for a performance of Darius Milhaud’s La creation du monde.

Overall, a great collaboration and a fine two-day festival of new music in Columbus, Ohio.

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