Thanks in part to a New Mexico State University Arts and Humanities seed grant, a clarinet and a flute will bring to life the magic of White Sands and two other national parks during a free concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Atkinson Recital Hall in the NMSU Music Building, 1075 N. Horseshoe St. on campus.
NMSU assistant professor of clarinet Madelyn Moore used the grant to commission the pieces, which will have their world premiere at the concert.
Moore, who has a DMA (doctor of musical arts) in clarinet performance, is also the clarinetist who will perform at the concert, along with flutist Dorothy Glick Maglione, who has a Ph.D. in musicology and is associate director of bands and assistant professor of music at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. Together, Moore and Glick Maglione comprise Violetta Duo.
The piece about White Sands National Park (WSNP) includes four movements: “Dunes,” “Critters.” “Blood Moon” and “Sledding,” said its composer, NMSU trumpet and jazz professor Jacob Dalager, Ph.D.
Dalager said he is a frequent visitor to WSNP “because my kids love sledding there.” He also has been to the park with his family for full moon nights and a hot air balloon festival.
“Every time I got there, especially the first time, it just feels like you’re entering a different planet,” Dalager said. He has visited many national parks, he said, but none “give me such an extraterrestrial feeling like White Sands.”
While it was challenging to compose for just two instruments, Dalager said he enjoyed his first experience writing for a duo.
“I’ve heard (Moore and Glick Maglione) play a little bit of it and I’m quite pleased about it,” he said.
A piece about Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona was written by Theresa Martin, who lives in Wisconsin. A composition about Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado is by David Morel, who lives in Kansas.
The concert will include a reading by NMSU Department of Geography and Environmental Studies assistant professor Eric Magrane, who has written a poem about each of the parks featured in three pieces of the music that will be performed.
In addition to a Ph.D. in geography, Magrane has an MFA in creative writing, both from the University of Arizona. He has been artist in residence at three national parks and poet in residence at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
“I’m grateful for Madelyn and Dorothy’s invitation to contribute poems for their concert,” said Magrane. “They shared early recordings of the music along with some of the composers’ program notes, and I kept those in mind as I wrote each of the poems. For instance, the white keys in the White Sands poem alludes to one of the compositions being written primarily with the white keys of the piano. As another example, I drafted the Rocky Mountain poem while listening to a recording of the musical composition, so it takes on some of the sound of the piece. At the same time, all of the poems also draw on my own past experiences in each of the parks.”
“Dr. Moore is an outstanding performer, and I am excited to hear the new works that she is premiering on Feb. 13,” said NMSU Music Department Head Fred Bugbee. “This has been a project that has been long in planning, and I am so happy to see it reach fruition through the seed grant funding awarded through the NMSU Office of Research, Creativity and Strategic Initiatives.”
Moore said she and Glick Maglione hope to bring “modern art music to people who aren’t familiar with it and to those who don’t think they like modern art music,” and show audiences that it is “more than just squeaks and honks.”
The long-term plan for the national parks music project is to commission additional pieces about other parks, perform the compositions in parks around the country and record a CD, Moore said.
“That’s our goal – make it bigger and take it everywhere,” she said.
Moore and Glick Maglione met while both were attending graduate school at William Jewell College and have collaborated for the past 12 years, Moore said.
The two have performed together at the International Clarinet Association Clarinetfest, in residency at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Kansas Public Radio, at the National Association of Composers/USA conference and in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. They have weekly Zoom meetings, make recordings for each to play along with as they rehearse for upcoming performances and meet for a week each summer, Moore said.
Visit www.madelynmoore.com, www.facebook.com/violettaduo, www.ericmagrane.com and https://jacobdalager.com/.